How this rural Texas landowner is helping dogs through sharing her land

50 miles north of Dallas, outside of Denton, Texas, Sniffspot host, Carol, values several things in life, two of which are an appreciation for the outdoors, and seeing happy dogs. “I'm a senior citizen,” she said. “I've lived at my property for 20 years now, and have a total of 10 acres, which is fenced in completely.” With time on her side and ample space for her dogs to exercise, Carol has made the most out of country living. 

As a member of several dog-centric groups on Facebook, Carol noticed a trend in posting – people complaining about their local dog parks, but who had no other solution for exercising their dogs. “I see constantly people complaining about going to dog parks and their dogs being attacked,” Carol said. “I guess couple of years ago I saw a sponsored ad about Sniffspot I thought that sounded interesting. I looked into it and I realized here's the way I can help people that don't like dog parks or have dogs that don't do well at dog parks. So I thought I'd give it a try.” 

A steady growth   

With several acres of unused land and the desire to provide a solution for dog owners in need of open space for their pets to roam, Carol took a leap and signed up to host, which took a little time to take off. “I signed up, and for a while I didn't get any customers,” she said. Eventually, things picked up after a regular visitor utilized Carol’s space, which is listed simply as a “Rural Yard.” “I've got a husband and wife with their two dogs that have been coming every weekend since the first of the year. It picked up from there.” 

Since then, hosting has been a steady endeavor for the retired landowner, who most enjoys seeing people and their dogs enjoy the land that she’s called home for two decades. “I've met very nice people, I enjoy having them,” she explained. “I like to see them having fun without having to worry about their dogs being attacked or their dogs running off.” A lifelong dog lover, Carol also understands that not all dogs particularly enjoy the company of other dogs, especially in dog park settings, which can be overwhelming for some canines. “Some dogs don't get along with other dogs, so their owners don't have to worry about their dogs attacking somebody else’s dog either,” she added. “They seem to have a good time and that's all I want – for people and their dogs to have a good time.”  

In addition to providing dedicated dog owners with the time and space they need to give their dogs exercise in a safe setting, Carol also enjoys allowing her canine visitors the opportunity to be themselves, whatever that may look like for them. “With the visits, the dog owners can see a different dog then they normally see,” she said. “That’s because they can run and play and investigate, since I live rurally. I have a pond, so the dogs can go swimming. There are rabbits, there's armadillo, sometimes you can smell the skunk who lives nearby, so there's a lot of different things for the dogs to explore, and I think people see different dogs when they get home. It's not always the dog they came with.” 

Interested in hosting?

Learn more here about how your land can help dogs and you can earn up to $1,000 per month!

A typical visit

Every Sniffspot host has their own style of hosting, and Carol has found hers over the last several months. For starters, she always likes to meet new visitors the first time they arrive, to give them a lay of the land and so everyone can familiarize themselves with each other. “I try to be outside when people come so I can introduce myself,” she said. “Then I walk them down to where I have a freshly filled bucket of water for their dogs to drink, and show them the big, lined bucket to throw their poop bags in.” Carol also has a horse who stays in a dry lodge on the property. “If your dog will run the fence with them, he'll run the fence with your dog, but I make sure people don’t let their dog get into the lot – he won't intentionally hurt your dog, but there's always a possibility an accident could happen,” she explained. From there, a quick visit to the pond, and a head’s up about the occasional tree stump ends the tour, at which point Carol leaves her visitors to enjoy their time. “The first time I like to meet everybody, other than that my dogs and I stay in the house for the time they blocked off. My yard is their yard for that hour.” 

Going above and beyond 

When it comes to Carol’s bottom line standards, one sticks out above all else – treating her guests as she would want to be treated. Not only does she implement this by offering her guests privacy during their visits, she also gives a heads’ up about preparing for certain conditions of the Texas landscape. “We're in spring here in Texas, and sometimes it can rain a lot, so if I happened to get behind on mowing I'll send visitors a note that says I haven't been able to mow,” she said. “If the grass is long I would want to know because I wouldn't want to come in shorts and flip flops and the grass would be up to my knees. I would be frustrated, so I try to be transparent about stuff like that when it happens.” 

Hosting with Sniffspot has further allowed Carol to show her guests care and respect. “This past weekend I had a client come book the time for 9:00 o'clock in the morning and I just peeked out the door to make sure everything was OK and saw that they were leaving. I asked if everything was OK, and their dog had got injured within 15 minutes of their visit,” she recalled. “So I wrote customer service and asked if we could refund their money. Sniffspot didn’t have to, but did, which I thought was really nice. If they had been here longer maybe I wouldn’t have asked, but I don't think that that's how I would want to be treated, so I try to treat the people that come to my yard the same way.” 

Plans for the future

For now, Carol has no huge plans to change things up at her place, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t open to hearing about how she could improve her guest’s experiences. “I've been thinking about sending my return visitors a short questionnaire to see what they want, and if anything might make it better for them,” she said. “To me, if I lived in town, just being able to come out here and let my dogs wander around where there's no traffic and nobody bothering me while my dogs run and play, would be enough for me. But I don't know what the clients want. The idea is for their dogs to have a good time – that's the most important thing, and that's what I want to do. I want to make sure the dogs have a good time and then their humans have a good time too.”  

In the meantime, Carol aims to keep things simple, and doing those things well, as that’s been working for her and her guests so far, and often results in return visitors, which lets her know she’s doing things right. “I enjoy meeting the people that come, and seeing the variety of dogs that people bring,” she said. “And I really enjoy it if the person comes back, because I like hearing people tell me that their dog had so much fun running and smelling, and knowing they would come back to enjoy more of that.”  

Interested in hosting?

Learn more here about how your land can help dogs and you can earn up to $1,000 per month!