Instead of receiving a call to confirm that Winnie was back home after the walk, the couple was told Winnie was at a nearby vet and they needed to go pick up her body.
"We were devastated. Winnie was our best friend," Nick said. "We would get grief from our family because our world revolved around that dog. We were just in disbelief."
Nick and Sara Moore of Houston hired a dog walker through the popular company Wag in Dec. 2018. After Winnie was killed during a walk with a Wag walker, the company allegedly offered the couple a little less than $200 to keep quiet about the incident and refused to answer any of their questions.Media: Nick Moore
The Moore's said they experienced several major inconsistencies from the time they heard the news about Winnie up until their last contact with the company. Any history of Winnie's last walk, which was recorded by GPS through the app, was deleted. The couple never found out where the accident took place or who even took their dog to the vet after she was struck.
"Every time we talked to them and we tried to get information, we got conflicting information, information that didn't make sense," Nick said.
A representative from Wag provided the Chronicle with the following statement regarding Winnie's death:
"We were deeply saddened by Winnie's death, and we extend our sympathy to the Moore's during this difficult time. The walker has been suspended from the Wag! platform. We have offered to reimburse the pet parents for their expenses."
The Moore's said Wag did offer to pay for Winnie's cremation but required that they sign a settlement and non-disclosure agreement preventing them from sharing any details regarding the incident. That included posting about Winnie's death on social media, posting any negative reviews or holding Wag or the walker responsible.
They decided not to sign the document and after much debate, shared a heartbreaking video of Nick playing with Winnie, commenting on the incident. The Moore's said their intentions were not to cast blame on the company or seek revenge but to hopefully inform other Houston dog owners of their personal experience with the company.
"We thought to ourselves if this happened to our neighbor or one of our friends, we would want them to tell us," Sara said. "We felt like we would be doing a disservice to the people we cared about [if we kept quiet]."
The Moore's post went viral, earning over 138,124 views as of Jan. 21. They said they received support from all over the world and have been overwhelmed by people's responses to their story.
"I've had someone reach out that said she had a similar story and us sharing our story has given her the confidence to share hers as well," Sara said. "It's [the online response] so much more than we anticipated, but we don't regret our decision."
Monday night, Wag's chief executive officer, Hilary Schneider, shared a letter to the Wag community addressing various claims other Wag users have made, including how the company responded and handled recent incidents.
Schneider stated in the letter it will be "revisiting and reviewing" customer service systems and is also updating its payment claim.
"As a result of your feedback, we've already updated our policy regarding such agreements so that we're responding with the highest level of sensitivity to the nature of each individual case," the letter stated.
Rebecca Hennes covers community news. Read her on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and on our subscriber site, houstonchronicle.com. | firstname.lastname@example.org| Text CHRON to 77453 to receive breaking news alerts by text message