Planning a holiday getaway has got to top everyone’s list of favorite things to do over the summer – especially in a place that gets as rainy and humid as Hong Kong. For pet owners, the process can be a little harrowing and even emotional, as we often have to leave our furry companions behind.
While I would love to bring my dog along on my jet-setting adventures, I know it’s not always logistically possible. There have even been a few last minute escapades I couldn’t follow through with due to not having proper arrangements for him. After experiencing different types of boarding options available in Hong Kong, I’m happy to find success with Pawshake.
Pawshake is an online platform that connects pet owners with local pet lovers and has already gained a popular following in cities like London, Toronto and Tokyo. Luckily for us, Hong Kong has followed suit and Pawshake launched here late last year and is the newest choice for pet owners looking for pet sitting, dog walking and boarding services.
Pawshake.hk is populated with profiles of pet-sitters throughout Hong Kong, their reasons to pet-sit may be to find a playmate for their pooch or that they love pets but can’t have one for financial reasons or housing restrictions.
Like many, I felt apprehensive trying something new and already started picturing the worst-case scenarios in my head. I hadn’t completely rejected the notion though, reminding myself how reluctant I was to try Uber for the first time – a service I now love and which has been a godsend on numerous occasions – but I still wanted to try the more old-fashioned methods first.
I rang up a reputable dog boarding facility in the city that was popular and expensive. When enquiring about their services, the staff mentioned they served organic meals and had luxurious cotton bedding equipped in each room. What they didn’t emphasize though is that they don’t take the dogs out for walks and the dogs remain in their rooms throughout the day barring two 30-minute playtimes in an indoor area.
Having my dog lie around alone for 23 hours a day was not an option, and while I previously had a positive experience with a kennel in the New Territories boasting lots of open space, the idea of Pawshake started growing on me. As I was clicking through the profiles of pet-sitters, checking out photos of their resident pets and reading reviews I already got a personable neighborly feel I was looking for. The sitters also list their service fees and availabilities. Once upon a time you could have even had your pet stay over at the Government House and personally taken care of by CY Leung’s daughter for HK$2000 a night.
I realized there were plenty of dog-friendly neighborhoods and spacious apartments my dog could be staying at while I was abroad. I started to think of it as a staycation for my pet.
Once you’ve browsed through the site you can contact a pet-sitter to strike an arrangement. A free house visit is usually recommended to see how your pet likes the environment and also gives you an opportunity to ask the sitter any questions. This was a very seamless and stress-free process for me. While I was away, I received regular updates from the pet-sitter and my mind was completely at ease knowing that he was in a loving home and receiving lots of attention. I also found that the sitters were more forthcoming than many dog-boarding facilities in the city.
Pawshake definitely fills the gaps for pet owners who aren’t as fond of kennels and are looking for more of a human touch. You can download the user-friendly Pawshake app on your smartphone, which adds another hassle-free way to connect with your pet sitter when you are on the go. I’m glad that we now have Airbnb for our vacation needs and Pawshake for our pets!
Check out: https://www.pawshake.com.hk/
Khushboo Hemrajani is one of the writers for the PetProject HK Blog. On her days off she likes to spend time with her dog, Johnny and take him around town!