Whether it’s for a couple hours, or a weekend, leaving your dog is one of the most stressful things you have to deal with as a dog owner. I recently came across an interesting service being offered in the Cleveland area, FlipFlop Dogs. FlipFlop provides an alternative to kenneling, placing dogs in homes for full-time pet sitting.
FlipFlop Dogs’ service, which started in 2011, places dogs in homes with “Companion Families.” The service carefully selects their families, doing background checks and interviews, to find the best homes for dogs. FlipFlop says that the families don’t watch the dogs to make money, but rather most are families or retirees who just love dogs. FlipFlop service also includes door-to-door, chauffeur driven transport for your dog to alleviate the stress and anxiety of being left behind.
For more details on this service and the companion families, read on for my Q&A with Lindsay Arko, Director of Franchise Support at FlipFlop Dogs.
How did the idea for FlipFlop Dogs come about?
We have spent our careers in the pet industry, so when it was time to look for another opportunity, our love of dogs prompted us to look for an alternative to kenneling. Fortunately our friends living in England mentioned an alternative to kenneling they discovered in England. We began researching this innovative idea and found Barking Mad, Home from Home Pet Care to offer the most professional services, having been in business for 10 years. Using Barking Mad as our model, FlipFlop® now provides safe, loving home-environment vacations for dogs in the U.S.
Tell us about some of the companion families in Cleveland.
Our Companions are amazing people! All of our Companion Families love dogs. Some are actively retired who have had dogs all their lives, but now enjoy the freedom and flexibility of caring for dogs on vacation. Others are younger, often in graduate school, teachers, or young families who can’t have the full time responsibility of a dog….and then there are the families that just really want to have an occasional playmate for their own dog.
How do you choose the families? Do most have other dogs?
We make it our first priority to provide carefully selected, personally inspected (homes) and even background-screened Companions for our customers and their dogs. Our Companion Families are often active retired, widowed, and retired military veterans who would prefer the privacy, safety and support FlipFlop Dogs offers so that they can focus on what they like to do best – care for dogs! Although, customers don’t visit Companion Families homes, our Companion profiles give exact details as to where their dog will be staying and we provide communication by phone, video, pictures and text to our customers (as little or as much as requested).
If you like a family can you use them again?
Absolutely, our goal is to match your dog up with a Companion your dog will enjoy spending time with every time you go on vacation!
What requirements do you have for the families as far as the amount of time they need to be home with the dog they are watching?
We require that our Companions are not working outside of the home when watching dogs for FlipFlop. The dogs are not left unattended for more than 2-4 hours per day although other than going to dinner, the grocery or an occasional errand – Companions really enjoy spending time at home with their guest!
Looking to start your own pet business? FlipFlop is looking to grow, adding 2 to 3 more franchises in the Cleveland area and needs franchise owners. Interested parties can find out more here or contact Lindsay Arko at 440-387-4584.