Do you wish you could enjoy the benefits of a pet but without all of the responsibility that comes along with ownership? The concept of renting a dog for short increments might be a good fit.
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Recognise that the idea of renting a pet is very controversial. But if you live in an apartment, work long hours and travel often, borrowing a dog may be the perfect way you can experience the joy of bonding with an animal on a part-time basis.
Find out if there is a pet rental service in your area. One company, called Flexpetz, has branches in several large metropolitan locations. The pet borrowing concept allows different people to share use of a select group of pets on an as-desired basis.
Recognise that pet borrowing is not inexpensive. You can expect to pay about £975 for the first year for the fees and minimum visits with a service like Flexpetz, but understand that this is about half of what it would cost you to own a dog of your own.
Find out what types of dogs are available for borrowing. You will often find a wide range of sizes, breeds and temperments but know that all should be well trained and obedient.
Understand that weekends and holidays may be busy rental times so plan ahead, especially if there is one day you prefer. Plan to spend time walking and playing with the dog while it is in your home so you and the animal will get the full benefit of the experience.
Expect your rented pet to come with its own food and supplies. Be prepared to pet-proof your house, though, by moving chemicals and cleaning supplies behind locked doors and relocating any shoes and other stray items that may be lining your floors.
Decide if you will pick up the dog yourself or prefer to have it transported by shuttle. This comes at an extra charge but can make the rental significantly easier for you.
Understand that you may become attached to a pet after multiple visits. You can check to see if the service will allow you to permantly adopt the dog if you think you can handle the ongoing responsibility.
Check with local shelters and animal rescue programs to see if they let people borrow pets for a few nights or a few weeks. Occasionally they will allow families to offer their dogs a temporary home. This can be a great way to see if you are ready to have a pet on a fulltime basis before you make a formal commitment to this end.
Tips and warnings
- Keep in mind that when pets are between rental visits, they live with a caretaker and do have a stable environment.
- Try out a pet before you buy, since ownership is a very large commitment and doesn't work with everyone's living environment and schedule.
- Understand some of the controversy that surrounds the topic of pet rentals before you get personally involved. Basically, people who oppose pet rentals feel it is inhumane to move animals from home to home in this way without enabling them to form permanent bonds. Proponents, however, point out that most of the pets used have been rescued from animal shelters and this program gives them the opportunity to be well cared for and experience lots of love.
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