Pawbutlers: With this vacation platform, you rent an apartment plus a pet

Caroline Dougoud and her friend Kierin Mulholland founded the Swiss easy home and pet platform Pawbutlers.

Pawbutlers/Caroline Dougoud

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PawbutlersWith this holiday platform you rent an apartment plus a pet

New Swiss platform Pawbutlers works like Airbnb – including pets. We spoke to the founding couple about the concept and the idea behind it.

Pet owners know the dilemma: who will take care of my beloved four-legged friend while I’m on vacation? Cats are happiest in their home environment, dogs require a lot of attention and boarding kennels are expensive. This is exactly where the Swiss platform that launched on August 2 comes in Pawbutlers, bringing pet owners and animal lovers together the Airbnb way.

Behind Pawbutlers are Caroline Dougoud and her friend Kierin Mulholland from Basel, who often travel as digital nomads. The animal-loving Swiss couple wanted to spend this summer in their home country at a reasonable price, so they started an appeal on a Facebook group out of the blue. The deal: you take care of the house and pets while the owner’s family is on vacation, and in return you get to live in the property for free.

Kierin Mulholland is one of the co-founders of the Swiss platform Pawbutlers.

Kierin Mulholland is one of the co-founders of the Swiss platform Pawbutlers.

Pawbutlers/Caroline Dougoud

The Facebook post was so well received that about 40 people contacted the couple and many more were excited about it. “I was already familiar with the concept of animal house and sitting from the US, but I never thought the Swiss would be so open to this idea,” says Caroline Dougoud.

Motivated by the high demand and lack of corresponding supply in the German-speaking area, the two quickly established Pawbutlers for Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

Go on a free vacation and spend time with dogs at the same time?  Swiss platform Pawbutlers wants to make this possible.

Go on a free vacation and spend time with dogs at the same time? Swiss platform Pawbutlers wants to make this possible.

Pawbutlers/Caroline Dougoud

Cheap alternative

The platform not only enables pet-loving travelers to stay for free, but is also a relief for pet lovers and owners. Because the holiday season is associated with high costs for pet owners: you have to pay for your own travel and, moreover, the care of your beloved pet.

Depending on the number and type of animals, animal boarding quickly costs up to CHF 100 per day. In comparison, Pawbutlers is an inexpensive alternative. The first 500 registrations on the new platform are free, after which the service costs 99 francs per year.

If you have multiple dogs, you need to dig deep into your pocket for a pet boarding.  These costs do not apply to the house and pet.

If you have multiple dogs, you need to dig deep into your pocket for a pet boarding. These costs do not apply to the house and pet.

Pawbutlers/Caroline Dougoud

Pawbutlers works like Airbnb

The platform is designed entirely along the lines of Airbnb: pet owners advertise their home for the period of their vacation absence and state what kind of care they would like for their pet and what experience is required for it. Interested pet sitters can send a message directly to apply for the ads and get in touch. At the end there is a mutual evaluation.

While pets are most in demand for dogs and cats, other pets are also available.

While pets are most in demand for dogs and cats, other pets are also available.

Pawbutlers/Caroline Dougoud

“If mediation is achieved, we recommend that the two parties meet either in person or via video call,” explains Caroline Dougoud. The only requirements to use the platform are a minimum age of 18, experience with animals and the exchange of ID cards and liability insurance numbers.

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By the way, there are no limits on animal species. From guinea pigs to dogs and snakes: Pawbutlers can theoretically be used by all pet owners. Because the project has just started, ads are only advertised on an ongoing basis. “Supply and demand will definitely determine cat or dog.”

Do you have any experience with house or pet sitting?

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