Denver-based Rover sitter Dave M. sees pet sitting as a way to welcome dogs into his family and build community in his awesome city.
From pet supply stores to outdoor parks, not to mention the surrounding hiking trails, Denver caters to four-legged family members. Dave says, “Just walking around the city; you will see people enjoying the sun on patios of restaurants and bars with their pooches,”
Thankfully, for Denver dog people who need help caring for their pets, Dave and his wife are on the scene! They often take the dogs in their care to play and socialize with other dogs at a local dog park or during a walk around their neighborhood.
Leader of the Pack
Dave got his professional dog care start while living in Missoula, Montana. He made some extra money during college by working for a local pet supply store. Each week, he took a group of up to 15 dogs off-leash hiking in the mountain wilderness surrounding the city.
“It was such a fulfilling experience to see how all these different dog personalities came together and really formed a pack,” Dave recalls. He credits this awesome experience with giving him the skill and confidence to care for all types of dogs. After all, managing a group that big takes patience, commitment, and a solid understanding of canine body language!
A Family Business
Dave and his wife both had dogs growing up, and were curious what it would be like to have another dog in their household. They decided to start pet sitting with Rover to add some supplemental income in addition to their full-time jobs in hospitals and get a little taste of having another dog.
Their staggered work schedules and dog-centric lifestyle mean they can offer plenty of walks, playtime, and couch snuggles to canine guests. “We feel so very fortunate that Rover has given us the opportunity to share something we love with others,” Dave says, “and also make a little money while we do it.”
As a pet sitter, Dave applies his insight into pack mentality. “I’ve learned how to communicate with dogs beyond just verbal commands,” he shares. “The first important thing to know is that, especially in a new environment, they will be looking to you to see how they fit in.” Any time a new dog comes come to stay with Dave, his wife, and their two dogs, Dave starts by watching their body language.
“I always pay attention to their physical cues,” he explains, “because it tells a lot about what they are experiencing. Paying attention to their ears, eyes, tails, mouths can all provide important information.” Dave uses that information, along with detailed care instructions from each dog’s owner, to provide tailored care to every dog who enters his home.
In addition to reading canine body language and responding accordingly, Dave and his wife make a point of replicating each doggy visitor’s routine to help them feel comfortable in their home. “If there is a certain way they eat their meals, or if they sleep in a certain arrangement,” he says, “we do our best to make our home as close as their home as possible.”
Dave is thankful for the many amazing pet parents and dogs that Rover has connected him to in Denver. He says, “We have gained so many more members of our extended family that we love to welcome in our house and share that universal love.”
Rover also provides a professional and convenient website that allows them to handle bookings seamlessly. It makes it easy for Dave and his wife to manage their bookings while still working full-time jobs.
The Rover app allows them to message clients, collect secure payments, and confirm bookings while on the go. And if anything goes wrong while they are pet sitting, they have Rover’s 24/7 support team, including vet assistance, to support them behind the scenes.
Clearly, Dave is serious about dog care. But he has a silly side, too! One of Dave’s favorite memories from his time as a sitter is celebrating the birthday of frequent canine guest Leif:
“Leif was a little more on the shy side,” Dave recalls, “but we tried really hard to make sure he felt as comfortable as possible. We spent extra time trying to bring him out of his shell.” All that time and effort paid off, as Leif became a happy, comfortable member of the pack in Dave’s home. Leif’s final stay with Dave and his family happened to coincide with his birthday, so with Leif’s human’s permission, Dave threw a party.
“We bought a special dog cookie,” Dave explains, “and bought hats for him and our two dogs.” In addition to being a sweet gesture, this sweet doggy birthday party resulted in some truly adorable pics.
One other standout moment for Dave and his wife was taking care of a special dog named Blanca. “Blanca was completely deaf, and her owner taught us sign language to use with her.” Dave says, “It was really an adjustment for us since we are so used to using audible cues with our own dogs….It was a total shift from what we were used to, and a really interesting experience.”
Beyond the helpful extra income, Dave and his wife appreciate the opportunity to experience life with an additional dog without having to commit fully. In fact, they say their extended family grows with every doggy guest they host! And it’s not just dogs who become part of the family, but their people as well.
As Dave explains, “it’s so awesome to build these great relationships with our neighbors.” Dave and his family are living proof that pet sitting builds community.
This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Ruby and Ezra