We worry enough about our dogs when we’re out of town, even if all is well and good with them at home with a sitter. When Liz Giorgi put her two dogs into the care of a walker with Wag!, an app that connects parents with independent walkers and sitters, she assumed they’d be well taken care of.
Giorgi traveled to Africa to honor her late father, who had unexpectedly passed before going on the trip she had bought for him. When she was all the way on the other side of the world, Giorgi got a disturbing notification from the “Wag” app.
Wag Loses Fran, Then Goes Silent
On January 5th, 2022, “Wag” informed her one of her dogs, Fran, was missing. The app, which has been offering walking and sitting services since 2015, apparently has no process in place to deal with lost pets and their worried parents.
Giorgi tweeted that she was put into a regular queue:
“I logged into the Wag! app to determine what to do as a customer. I figure: they have to have a process for this.”
Panicking, Giorgi tried to figure out a way to get home, but it could take up to 5 days. In the meantime, she enlisted the help of her friends and family back in Colorado to search for Fran. She even got help from strangers via NextDoor and hired a tracker remotely.
At the same time, Giorgi, experiencing one of the worst things a pet parent can go through, heard almost nothing from Wag! The company said nothing to her for 25 hours after notifying her Fran was missing.
While Fran was missing, most of the work being done to find her was coordinated by Giorgi and her family, not the company responsible for the dog’s disappearance.
Worst Fears Realized
On January 14th, about a week after Fran’s disappearance, Giorgi got this blunt phone call:
“I’m calling to report we have news on your pet. Our local contact has informed us she has not made it. She has passed away. These instances are incredibly rare, but do happen. Do you have any questions?”
All of this happened while Giorgi was in another country, and animal control cremated Fran before she returned home. Giorgi and her husband weren’t even able to see Fran one last time.
“We have her ashes now, though, and will make a large donation to the rescue that we adopted her from in her honor,” Giorgi tweeted.
In addition to the company’s terrible communication and poor outreach, Giorgi emphasized she and her husband were still “waiting for a simple ‘I’m sorry.’”
“Adding insult to injury, they billed me for my dog sitting services yesterday. Such a joke. They said they would ‘look into it.’”
The Strikes Against Wag Add Up
Fran’s death is a tragedy. Ultimately, Giorgi says it boils down to the fact that Wag! has terrible leadership and the process of recovering a missing pet completely lacks empathy for the worried parents.
“I’m sorry for all the pet lovers who lost their pets because of Wag. I’m sorry to their employees and walkers who have been handed a leadership example that robs compassion and empathy from the process.”
Her community is who came through for Giorgi in the end. She also learned that several others have been hurt by this company. What’s important to remember is, Wag! may be a business, but it’s one that deals with people’s family members.
Annie Miller, someone who got involved in the search for Fran, also feels furious at the way Wag! handled this scenario. Miller tweeted:
“If @WagWalking won’t show enough care to proactively try to prevent deaths and can’t respond in real time like a well-oiled machine w/a detailed plan when there’s still a chance for pets to live, I ask you @WagWalking to cease operations for the mental health of society.”
As of this post, Giorgi and her family still had not received a public apology from Wag. According to their website, the company operates in 4,600 cities across all 50 U.S. states.