Below are some questions that we are frequently asked. We hope our replies will help put your mind at rest. If you have another specific question, please call us on 01932 568584.
When was Home from Home established?
The agency was established in 1996. We were the first agency in the UK offering a genuine alternative to traditional boarding kennels. We are the leading agency specialising in providing caring homes throughout London and the Home Counties. Our personal and attentive service has set the standard for others to follow.
How can I contact the agency?
Please telephone us on 01932 568584. We are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. During these hours, if all our lines are busy, please leave a message and we will return your call immediately. Outside our office hours, please leave a message and we will return your call on the next working day. Alternatively, you may wish to email us if it is more convenient. We constantly monitor our emails during office hours and will respond immediately. Emails received out of hours will be replied to on the next working day.
Are all dogs suitable for home boarding?
No. We have learned though our many years of experience of boarding dogs that our service is only suitable for friendly, family pets. We are happy to accommodate puppies as long as they are house and/or cage trained. We are happy to accept all breeds as long as they are obedient, non-destructive, and non-aggressive and have a calm and gentle nature.
We do not accept incontinent dogs, dogs that chew furniture or other household items. If your dog causes any damage to the carer's home whatsoever, any costs must be reimbursed to the carer. We do not accept dogs that pull hard on the lead, or boisterous strong dogs. We do not accept bitches that are expected to be or are in season during the booking.
If you are unsure about your dog's suitability, please call our office on 01932 568584 and a member of staff will discuss your dog's particular habits with you and tell you if we have anyone suitable.
Does my dog need to be vaccinated?
No. Although your dog will not be in contact with any other dogs, we always recommend your dog to have periodic booster vaccinations to protect it against infections and disease. Your dog should also be wormed and be treated for fleas before being placed in one of our carers homes. It is your responsibility to ensure your pet is free of fleas. If fleas are present, your carer may treat your pet and you will need to reimburse your carer for any expense incurred.
What will I need to provide for my dog?
Everything that you would supply if a friend or neighbour was caring for your dog. For instance: food, biscuits, chews, clean bedding & towels, bowls, leads, toys, poop bags and anything else to make your pets stay comfortable and familiar. If your dog has special dietary needs or medication this is not a problem. If your dog eats fresh chicken or fish, you will need to cook these and provide the food in freezer bags which can be defrosted each day. We suggest that you provide an extra sheet explaining what food or medication should be given and when.
My dog usually sleeps on my bed - will the carer allow him/her to do this?
Generally this is not acceptable - however some carers do tell us that they have had dogs sleeping on their beds, especially the small breeds. Most carers are happy for the dog to sleep in their bedroom in a basket/bed or on the floor.
I would like my dog to be let off the lead; will the carer do this if I ask?
No, it is company policy that dogs are never allowed off their leads for insurance purposes. Most clients are happy to supply a flexi lead for exercise.
What kind of people become dog carers and how are they vetted?
All kinds of people: retired, families, single people, young and old - they all have one thing in common: they are dedicated to caring for dogs. When we receive an application, they first have to fit our basic criteria: they should not be away from their home for more than 4 hours at any one time, they should have a secure garden, they should not have any dogs or cats of their own, and they should not have any pre-school children. If they fit our criteria then we arrange to interview them for suitability to our service. Only once they have passed an interview and their homes have been checked, do they come onto our register.
Do you have carers in my area?
We have an extensive register of carers throughout London and the Home Counties and we are sure to have a carer in your area. Please telephone the agency on 01932 568584 and advise us of the dates you are going away. We can then tell you who is available and their location.
Can I meet my carer before the booking starts?
Yes. In fact, we insist upon it. Unlike other agencies, we want you and our carers to meet before the booking starts to ensure that all parties are fully informed and happy. If you are unhappy with the carer we have selected, we will be happy to offer an alternative(s). We want you to go away relaxed and confident and to know the person who will be looking after your much loved pet.
When do I receive the carer's details?
Before we can give you any contact details for your carer, you will need to pay the non-refundable deposit*. In doing so, you are confirming your booking. Once the deposit has been paid you will receive a confirmation either in the post or via email and you are then invited to contact your carer to make an arrangement to go and visit them with your dog. We respect and protect both client and carer's confidentiality and will not release any information until a booking is confirmed.
*fully refunded if you are unhappy with the carer we have selected, once you have been to visit them.
Is there a minimum stay for first-time customers?
Yes. For first-time customers who have never used our service before there is a minimum stay of three days. This is to give your dog and our carer the best opportunity to get to know one another and settle into a happy routine. We don't believe an overnight stay is long enough to be fair on both the carer and your dog. Once a customer has used us, we are then able to book as little as day care to offer you a fully flexible service.
Does the time that I leave or collect my dog affect the cost?
No. We charge by the calendar date and not by the 24 hours. This means that you have your carer available all day on the day that you wish to leave your dog and on the day you wish to collect your dog (particularly early and late times by prior arrangement with the carer). As a courtesy to your carer and to avoid unnecessary stress on your dog, we suggest after 8am and before 8pm, especially in the darker months.This gives you complete flexibility.
Can I make a provisional booking?
No. We don't make provisional bookings. Please call our office and we will let you who is the most suitable carer available for the dates you need but we will not hold this carer until we have a confirmed booking.
When is the fee paid for my booking?
The fee is made up of two parts. You pay a non-refundable* deposit over the telephone by debit or credit card to confirm your booking and guarantee the carer we have selected. The deposit is part of the daily rate and not in addition to it. The balance is due when you deliver your dog to your carer and is paid directly to the carer by cash or cheque; please ask your carer which method they prefer.
*fully refundable if you are not happy with the carer we have selected, once you have visited the carer.
What happens once I have made a booking?
When a booking is made either on-line or by telephone, we check the information about your dog and select a carer from our register who we think would be best matched to your dog's needs and temperament. It is always best to be 'honest' about your dog - the more information we have the better. We will try to provide you with a carer close to your home, but we feel that it is more important to introduce you to a carer who is best suited to your dog. We will call you to discuss the carer we have selected. If you are happy to proceed based on the information we tell you about your carer, we confirm your booking by taking a non-refundable deposit payment by debit or credit card. We will send you contact details for the selected carer and invite you to contact them.
What happens if the selected carer is not suitable for my dog?
If, after meeting the selected carer you are unhappy and you notify us within three days of the meeting, we will either introduce you to another carer, or if you prefer, you will be given a full refund of your deposit. Any feedback about our carers you may wish to gives us is always appreciated and helps us select the right carer in the future.
When I want to book with you again can I contact the carer myself?
Yes. If you wish to check with your regular carer to see if they are free on the particular dates you require before contacting the agency, please do so. You will always need to make your booking through the agency. Your records are kept on file, so you need only phone through your dates and we will make a booking and confirm it through to the carer.
Are there any extra charges?
No. Unlike other agencies, we do not charge a registration fee nor do we insist that we transport your dog to and from our carer's home at a cost. We can arrange a collection and delivery service should it be more convenient for you but there will be a charge for this.
What happens if my dog is ill while I am on holiday?
Unlike other agencies, our carers have an emergency number to contact the agency 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. If your dog becomes ill whilst you are away, your carer will call the agency and we will discuss its condition. If we think it is necessary, your dog will be taken to your vets by your carer providing it is local to them. If not it will be taken to a local vet of our choice. The cost of treatment will be reclaimed on your return. Any costs incurred by the carer will need to be reimbursed to the carer. We will contact you on your emergency number at the first opportunity to discuss what has happened and keep you updated of your pet's progress.
What happens if I do not show up for my booking?
If you do not turn up for your booking or cancel giving less than 24 hours notice the total fee is due. This will be charged to the credit/debit card that you used to confirm your booking.
What happens if I need to cancel my booking?
If you have met with your dog carer and feel that the carer we have selected for you is unsuitable, we can introduce you to another carer or, if you prefer, you will receive a full refund of your deposit. The refund is only valid if you inform us of your dissatisfaction within three days of meeting your carer.
If you need to cancel for any other reason, you will not receive a refund of the deposit paid.
What happens if I leave my dog later than agreed?
If you drop off your dog later than the agreed time but on the same day, there is no change to the cost: your carer has been reserved for the day. If you anticipate arriving later, then we ask that you make your carer aware of your later drop off time in order to avoid them waiting longer than necessary, and to ensure they are ready to receive your dog. Please call the agency if you have mislaid your carer's number. If you drop your dog off on a later day than agreed there is no refund. Your carer has been reserved for you from the confirmed date and it is unfair to them if you decide to arrive later than expected.
What happens if I collect my dog later than agreed?
If you collect your dog or dogs on a day later than agreed in the original booking, there will be an additional charge for every calendar day. Please contact the office as soon as you can if this is going to happen, so that we can liaise with the carer and ensure the booking details are all updated.
What happens if I collect my dog early?
If you return from your holiday early and decide to collect your dog before the due date - there is no refund of payment.