THREE animal lovers have launched a revolutionary new way for dog owners to find a home-from-home for their beloved pets.
Dublin brothers Timothy and James McElroy and business partner Igor Ferreira have created HouseMyDog, which aims to connect pet owners with ‘minders’ who offer quality home boarding.
As the first online service of its kind in Ireland, HouseMyDog aims to replicate the popular Airbnb website, where people can list, find and rent lodging.
Since establishing the business in 2014, providing safe and loving homes to dogs so that owners can travel with peace of mind, the trio are bringing their creation to the British market.
This month, HouseMyDog launches in London and Liverpool, following the service being rolled out in Glasgow, Manchester and Edinburgh last November.
To date 350 British dog sitters use the service, which plans to extend further into Birmingham, Brighton and Leeds.
A lifelong dog owner, 29-year-old Timothy said that the idea was born out of a need for convenience, after he realised that he had no family members available to look after his pet while he travelled.
Speaking to The Irish Post, he said: “I’ve always had a dog and finding somewhere safe to leave him whilst we went away as a family was always a problem. It’s when I was working in Berlin that I came across the idea, and that’s how the business began.
“We’re really excited to enter the UK market now and grow the business here, and we’re looking to target dog owners in cities where there is a large urban population.”
Based in Dun Laoghaire Enterprise Centre, the team have already established connections with dog minders in Belfast, Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Waterford and Galway.
To date the business has 12,000 active users, 80 per cent of whom are dog owners, and the remainder dog minders.
At an average cost of £18 per night, pet owners across Britain will not only benefit from a tailored housing service for their dogs, but will also be able to receive photo updates of their dog’s stay, a 24/7 support service and emergency vet care.
Whilst the company also aims to add dog walking, grooming, training and further pet services, Timothy is aware that trust is a key factor that needs to be established between the pet owners and the minders.
“This is definitely one of the challenges, but we have a verification process which includes a written application and a phone interview,” he said. “We believe that all dogs deserve the best of care by real minders in real homes.”