Meet the animal lover behind DogVacay, the awesome online community that's made it easy to find a pet sitter you can trust.
Ever think twice about going on vacation because you don't like the idea (and high cost) of leaving your precious pooch at a kennel or with an unvetted sitter? Aaron Hirschhorn knows how you feel. That's why he and his wife Karine founded DogVacay—an online community with over 20,000 thoroughly vetted and insured pet sitters across the US and Canada who are ready to care for pets in their home or yours. What's more, all reservations include 24/7 emergency support, vet insurance, and daily photo updates of your pup. Some have called it the Airbnb for pets—a fitting description, as DogVacay provides a first-class getaway for your dog while you're having one yourself!
We figured that you'd have to be an animal lover to come up with an idea so awesome, and sure enough, Aaron fits the bill. Not only is he the co-founder and CEO, but this devoted dog owner is also a frequent DogVacay user. Check out our interview with him below:
Tell us about your first pet.
My first pet was my family's dog, a Standard Poodle named Kelvy who was very smart and loved to be active. It was a great introduction to caring for dogs, and I've loved them ever since.
Tell us about your current pet.
My current dog is a Goldendoodle named Rocky who rules the office! (See the photo.) She was our first employee, after all. Rocky has probably been on more vacays than any other dog at this point, and I love seeing the photo updates of her paddle boarding, hiking and running on the beach when I'm on the road.
If we asked Rocky to describe you, what do you think she would say?
Rocky would definitely say that I work too much! Fortunately she has access to a whole office of dog lovers who are more than happy to play when I'm stuck in a meeting.
How has being a pet owner influenced you and how you run the business?
One of the best things about running a dog-related company is that we're surrounded by them—we have 25+ in the office on any given day. I think it's really helpful for morale when people can have their best friends nearby, and taking your pup for a walk is a great way to clear your head and get your creativity flowing again.
What initially motivated you to go into the pet care business, and what continues to motivate you on a daily basis?
I founded DogVacay after having a negative experience with a kennel. My wife and I returned from a vacation to an outrageously large bill and a very unhappy dog. Inspired, we decided to open their own home for dog boarding and watched more than 100 dogs in eight months. The experience not only paid for our wedding, but proved that home dog boarding was a superior alternative that traveling pet parents everywhere were asking for. Soon after, DogVacay was born.
If you could spend an entire day hanging out with a wild animal in its natural habitat, which would you choose and why?
That's a tough one. I would have to say a wolf, I suppose, because it would be interesting to see how similar to dogs they really are!