When the Levinsky family dropped their dog Frankie off at a Chilliwack dog sitter booked through an online dog-sitting service, they hoped their 10-month-old pit bull was in good hands.
Off to the airport and a flight to Mexico for the Kim and Dan Levinsky with their kids aged three and five.
But then the unthinkable happened.
|Kim Levinsky with 10-month-old Frankie who went missing from a Chilliwack dog sitter hired through Rover.com on Nov. 11, 2019, and four days later was still missing. (Submitted)|
It was Nov. 11, and soon after being dropped off at the house near Fletcher and Cleveland in the downtown area, Frankie hopped a fence and ran into the road. She was hit by a car and took off.
While the Levinskys are off in Mexico worrying, friends of the family have been frantically searching the city, but some don’t think the dog-sitting service is doing enough.
Rover.com is a Seattle-based firm that is an online marketplace for people to buy and sell pet care services including pet sitting, dog boarding, and dog walking. It’s described by some as the Uber for dogs or Airbnb for pets, hooking up pet owners with those willing to board or walk pets.
Kelsey Vincent is a friend of the Levinskys who said 40 people, including the dog sitter, were searching for four hours on Nov. 11 but couldn’t find her. The next day they hired Al MacLellan from Surrey-based Petsearchers to look with his bloodhound, but still nothing.
(See below for more photos.)
“She was lost within 30 minutes of being dropped off for care and has been missing since Nov. 11,” Vincent said on Nov. 15. “The friends and family have been out searching for days. There are posters everywhere. Even search dog services (bloodhound scent tracking) has been initiated.”
But Vincent said Rover declined to help pay for the bloodhound services, and has otherwise not been particularly responsive to the situation.
“[The Levinskys] are in Mexico while all of this is going on at home and Rover is providing very little support to help bring Frank home,” Vincent said via email, adding in a phone interview, “Literally the only thing you had to do was keep the dog safe,” Vincent said of Rover and the dog-sitter used.
And while Rover says this type of situation is rare, it does happen. In September a Vancouver family complained to other media outlets about Rover and how their two-year-old shepherd mix went missing the same day it was dropped off at a sitter.
In that case, the family found out the sitter had lost other dogs and often cared for five or six at a time. The company told Global and CTV News that the particular sitter is no longer allowed to offer services through the platform.
Asked about Frankie, Rover provided The Progress with a statement: “As dog parents ourselves, we take these rare situations very seriously and our primary focus is seeing Frankie reunited with her family,” said Dave Rosenbaum from Rover’s public relations team in an email. “To aid in the search efforts, we have posted in online forums, engaged local members of our community to help locate Frankie, and are offering a reward for information leading to her being found. The sitter’s account has been paused, and our 24/7 Trust and Safety team will conduct a complete investigation.”
According to its website, Rover’s guarantee covers “costs arising from certain injuries or damages that occur during a service booked and paid through Rover. The injuries or damages must result from care provided during a Rover stay or walk, and the guarantee reimburses in the event the sitter or walker is unwilling or unable to pay those costs.”
Anyone who spots Frankie is asked to call Kelsey Vincent at 604-765-7475. She says if Frankie is spotted, do not chase her or she will run. Just call the number if you are able to keep an eye on her. If you are really close, Frankie is “super food motivated.”