Money Matters: Cheaper alternatives to dog boarding

Reported by: Ashley Claster
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Updated: 8/15/2014 11:27 am
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To say Linda Muehlbrad is a dog lover would be an understatement. 

"I'm a foster mom for Texas Italian Greyhound Rescue. I've been doing that for seven years," said Muehlbrad. 

 She also has dogs of her own that she has adopted. and when she goes on vacation, she chooses to skip the traditional boarding experience 

Muehlbrad said she is not going to let her dogs go with just anyone, she is searching for a more personal touch.

So, she joined Dogvacay which is a website where you can find a local dog sitter to keep your pet in their house instead of a kennel. 

Muehlbrad said the cost can be much more flexible because sitters set their own rates, which could end up being must more cost-effective than the big pet hotels. She has now become a sitter herself.

The sitters offer a lot of "free extras" that you wouldn't get with a boarding place. 

"A lot of them charge extra if you have a 15-minute walk. My dogs, we basically do a 30-minute walk every day and they [the owners] are more than welcome to text me or email me. I Facebook them with picture updates at least once a day and I don't charge extra for administering medications," said Muehlbrad.

Muehlbrad said one big added financial benefit to in-home care, is flexibility. Customers wouldn't get billed for an extra day if they picked up their pooch too late. 

"I have had people drop them off as early as six in the morning, and as late as midnight. If they're here for more than a seven night time period, then we start adjusting the rates. You wouldn't get that in most of your other places, they're just straight flat," said Muehlbrad.

 Dog Vacay also offers insurance, free of charge.

Muehlbrad said she has bonded through them. She's received an insurance policy that helps to give peace of mind to a lot of people.

For Muehlbrad, it's the comfort of knowing her dogs are in good hands.

"For me, I think it's priceless being able to have it in home versus being in a kennel that they're in a cage and just taken out every so often and played with. Some of them are very good facilities, don't get me wrong. But I personally like having the more homey environment."

According to its CEO, Dog Vacay is disrupting the $11-billion pet care market. 
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