Dog walkers and pet sitters can be expensive, especially if you require their services daily or multiple times each week. What if you could acquire these services for free? It may sound too good to be true, but that’s just what one new service is offering pet parents. BorrowMyDoggy matches dog lovers with pooches that need a little extra attention.
The site is the brainchild of Rikke Rosenlund. After her neighbor asked her to watch his chocolate Labrador puppy last year, she realized that the need for a service like BorrowMyDoggy was needed. After watching the dog for the afternoon she found herself wondering why pet parents spend so much money on dog walkers and kennels when there are many pet lovers like her that would love to care for dogs free of charge.
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Not all dog lovers are able to have pets of their own. Sometimes someone in their household is allergic or they may not be able to have pets due to a rental agreement. Sometimes these people would love to have a “part-time pet” – a dog that they could take to the park or the beach, but wouldn’t have to live with. Rosenlund thought of a solution that would work for these pet lovers and help dog owners at the same time.
Rosenlund launched the website last year with Les Cochrane, her business partner. The business has been so successful that she has now quit her job in financial services to work for the company full time. Currently the site takes members from all across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Dog owners have to pay £44.99 (about $70) per year to list their pets and it costs borrowers £9.99 (about $15) for a subscription to the site.
Pet parents have the ability to create an eye-catching profile for their dog that includes his age, breed, habits and an adorable photo. Borrowers also create a profile that includes their previous experience with dogs, why they are interested in borrowing a dog and their availability. Dog owners can select the borrowers they want to send a message to and the pair can work out all the details themselves.
Dogs must be at least three months old to be listed, and BorrowMyDoggy doesn’t allow users to list any breeds on the dangerous dog list. Unfortunately, that means that many wonderful pets are still left home alone. I don’t necessarily agree with this rule, but I suppose it isn’t up to me.
Borrowers and dog owners must be at least 18 years old and are required to go through a verification process before their profile will be published. The verification process does require the checking of a telephone number and address. All users are covered by third-party insurance and have access to a 24/7 veterinarian hotline. All owners must also provide written confirmation that their dog is allowed to explore off-leash.
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I think the concept of this site is great, but I certainly have my doubts. I think of it like a game of spin the bottle, except that the person that you land on will be responsible for your pet. As an overprotective pet parent, I can say that this idea makes me a little leery. However, with ample time to get to know a pet borrower before entrusting them with your Fido, it may not be so bad.
Dog owners have the ability to message borrowers as much as they want beforehand, and you could also set up a few meet-and-greet sessions before letting the person take your dog for a walk. I guess it’s essentially the same as trying to find a trustworthy pet sitter or dog walker. The only difference is that most professionals have some kind of license or permit; not that that makes them trustworthy, but it does provide you with a small amount of peace of mind.