The smart service saving the day for dog owners living abroad

Moving to a new country is an amazing experience, but it’s not without its challenges. Particularly for dog owners who have no-one to look after their precious pooch if they plan a trip. Enter DogBuddy, an app and web-based platform connecting dog owners with dog lovers so both you and your pet can get some R&R.

The smart service saving the day for dog owners living abroad
Photo: Michael Rosizky, Katie McConnell and their dog Kona

It’s something you don’t think about until the time comes, but one of the toughest tasks is finding someone to dog-sit when you take a trip. That task is even tougher if you’ve just moved to a new country and don’t yet have a support network to call on in times of need.

So, what happens when you go away and can’t take Fido with you? The Local spoke to dog owners living abroad who have found the secret to balancing their international lifestyle while making sure their beloved pet is well cared for when they go on vacation.

Sign up to DogBuddy and find your perfect dog sitter

The McVeys and Bo

Back in 2016, Nicole McVey moved from Miami to Paris with her husband John and their Golden Retriever Bo. It was while living in Paris that their son Milo was born.

Photo: Nicole McVey, her son Milo and Bo

“Moving to Europe comes with its advantages of being able to travel and experience new cultures and we definitely wanted to make the most of that, so we had to find a service that would take care of Bo while we travel,” she explains.

The family was no stranger to dog sitting services, having used one when they were at home in the US. Moving to France, however, presented them with a unique set of challenges. Not speaking the local language, Nicole and John felt apprehensive about finding a dog sitter online.

Nicole says her fears were soon put to rest when she found DogBuddy, a dog sitting service active across eight countries, including France, the UK, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Germany. You pay securely through the website or app, so even if you haven’t quite mastered the local lingo yet, there’s no need for any awkward conversations or confusion when it comes to paying the sitter.

Nicole explains she felt comforted knowing she could browse through dog sitter profiles with pictures and profile information, as well as ratings and reviews left by other dog owners.

“I just look for profiles where I feel the person looks friendly and accommodating. Our dog is large so it’s important to find a sitter that has the room. I stay home with him and our son most of the time so it’s important for us to find someone who has help from a partner because he’s used to having us around,” she says.

Photo: Bo McVey

These requirements have not been a problem for Nicole who says her family has used three to four different sitters from the site and they have all worked out perfectly.

Looking for a reliable dog sitter? Check out DogBuddy

Bo even gets a holiday of his own, when his owners go away.

“He mostly stays in Paris with a DogBuddy sitter while we travel, but once he travelled to Normandy with his sitter and her Golden Retriever. He was able to swim and had a great time,” she recalls.

Sophie and Maurice

Sophie Miskiw and her partner have a similar story, after moving from the UK to Sweden in 2016 with their dog Maurice.

Photo: Sophie Miskiw, Josh and their dog Maurice

“We didn’t know a single other person in Stockholm. We were going on our first holiday and when you don’t know anyone, it’s quite restricting. You feel like you can’t go anywhere, but DogBuddy allowed us to feel like we had a support network.”

Sophie says her dog is like her child, so safety and security are key concerns when choosing a service and a sitter.

“He’s my baby and you wouldn’t leave your child with someone you didn’t feel comfortable with. You want someone that you know is going to look after him and give him love while you’re away,” she says.

It’s not only the sitter that Sophie felt confident with. It was also reassuring, she explains, knowing that Maurice was protected by DogBuddy’s vet coverage and liability insurance.

“It’s a relief knowing that if something happens to Maurice while he’s with the sitter, he can immediately see a vet.”

Looking for the perfect dog sitter? Try DogBuddy

Photo: Sophie Miskiw and Maurice

It wasn’t just Maurice’s owners who took a well-deserved break. Sophie recalls while she was away she received a photo of him living it up in the Stockholm archipelago.

“The dog sitter asked if she could take Maurice to her mother’s country house in the archipelago. It was really nice because I felt like he had a holiday as well. He’s been to places with dog sitters that my boyfriend and I would love to visit. We’re kind of jealous!” she laughs.

Sophie adds that knowing DogBuddy has photo and video messaging features, as well as GPS updates built into the app, gives her added confidence as she can be sure Maurice is getting enough exercise and having a good time with his sitter.

Michael, Katie and Kona

Couple Michael Rosizky and Katie McConnell had always wanted a dog. After moving from Canada and settling in Spain, they decided it was time to make that dream a reality.

DogBuddy made it possible for the two lifelong dog lovers to adopt their puppy Kona.

Photo: Michael Rosizky, Katie McConnell and their dog Kona

“We understood the way DogBuddy worked and we knew that by moving here there would be travel involved, so we knew there was a solution out there for us if we couldn’t find a sitter. That was taken into consideration when we were deciding to choose a dog,” Michael says.

After unexpected travel plans arose just six weeks after getting Kona, they called on this support system for the first time.

“It was really easy. She was very flexible. We also went to her flat, so we could see where we were leaving him. She was also a dog trainer so that kind of made us feel more comfortable as well,” Michael adds.

Make sure the whole family is looked after next time you go away with DogBuddy

DogBuddy not only caters for overnight stays, but also offers doggy daycare and dog walking.

“There was a day that we were going to be gone for over five hours and it was really simple and easy to find someone who could just walk him and take him for the day,” Michael recalls.

Although Katie and Michael have now settled into their new home and made friends, they keep going back to DogBuddy.

Photo: Michael Rosizky, Katie McConnell and their dog Kona

“When you get here you realise that you don’t have your safety net of family and friends around you, but we knew we had DogBuddy and actually we’ve used it every time just because it makes us feel safe,” Michael says.

Moving to a new country with your dog doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Check out DogBuddy to help you breathe easier while you travel, knowing your fur-baby is safe and well cared for while you’re away.

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by DogBuddy


Meet the German airport dog sniffing out huge bundles of cash

Money talks, they say, but for some, money also smells.

Meet the German airport dog sniffing out huge bundles of cash
Here's an archive photo of Aki with some of her cash finds. Photo: DPA

Aki, a nine-year old Belgian Shepherd dog based at Frankfurt's international airport in Germany, sniffed out almost a quarter of million euros in cash from travellers in a few days.

Between the end of June and the start of July, Aki caught 12 passengers carrying a total of €247,280 ($290,540), according to the airport's customs office.

In one incident, the nosy mutt sniffed out almost €52,000 in the belt bag of a passenger.

Other cash was found in handbags, shoulder bags and inside jacket pockets.

“With her keen nose, Aki supports the custom officers… in the fight against tax evasion, money laundering and international terrorism,” said Isabell Gillmann, spokeswoman at the customs office in Frankfurt, Germany's business capital.

READ ALSO: Customs dog sniffs out €1.2 million in cash at Düsseldorf airport

All 12 travellers could face fines.

In 2019, customs officials in Frankfurt caught passengers carrying a total of around €23.6 million in undeclared cash.

According to EU laws in place since 2007, if passengers enter or leave the EU with €10,000 or more in cash, they must declare it and its origins to Customs.

These regulations are in place to help investigators detect any illegal activity involving high volumes of cash, such as drug trafficking or money laundering.

Corona dogs?

German sniffer dogs may also be put to use in the battle against coronavirus.

Researchers from Hanover's University of Veterinary Medicine found in July that man's best friend could detect Covid-19 in human samples, suggesting that in future they could be deployed in transport centres or sporting events.