Veterinarian Reviewed on June 5, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Did you know that there are more than 44 million dog owners living in the USA? Did you also know that there are millions upon millions of dogs that are currently living out their lives in animal shelters across the US? There is also an equal number of dog-loving people living in the USA who do not own a dog simply because they don’t have the time to walk, groom or clean up after a dog on a 24 hour 7 days a week basis.
For these poor dog-loving souls they can now rent a dog for the day, for the afternoon or even for a whole weekend, from dog rental companies that are springing up across the USA.
One such company is FlexPetz, run by Marlena Cervantes.
Cervantes is not only a dog owner but she is also a former behavioral therapist that understands firsthand how healing a visit with a dog can be for a sick patient, especially children.
However, most of the patient’s families cannot take on the added responsibility that owning a dog comes with. Renting a very well behaved dog to these families was the perfect way that Cervantes could make people happy, and so Cervantes launched her dog renting company, FlexPetz, in both San Diego and Los Angeles. Branches have since opened in New York, San Francisco and in London, UK.
Some of FlexPetz clients include businessmen who travel out of town every few days, or college students who aren’t allowed to keep pets in their dorm room. These dog lovers can now book time with a dog online or by phone. But first they must pay a monthly membership fee to FlexPetz of $99.95 which goes to providing full care for all the dogs at every FlexPetz location.
Prior to being approved to rent a dog, potential dog renters have to attend a mandatory in-home training and introduction session with a FlexPetz trainer. Topics covered in this session are an introduction to the dogs, dog handling and training. The cost of this session is about $150 and having completed it successfully, dog renters will then be able to rent their first dog either online or by telephone.
The membership also includes a free Convenience Package which includes a dog bed, food and water bowls, dog waste bags, chew toys as well as a custom leash. Each dog is also sent to their temporary home with their own food that is pre-packed for each night of their stay. Every FlexPetz pooch also has an embedded chip with GPS and temperature sensors which enable Flexpetz to find the dog if it runs away and can make sure that the dog does not get too hot or too cold.
In order to provide continuity in the FlexPetz dog, each member is required to rent the same dog at least twice a month.
The dogs are rescues that are taken in from a variety of different animal shelters and are pre-screened to make sure that they do not have any emotional hang ups such as food or people aggression. When the dogs are not out with the renters, they all spend their free time in cage free doggie day care centers.
Most dogs that are available to rent are also available for adoption as well. Consider it a rent to own for the dogs!
Before you rush off to rent a dog, there are a few things that you should consider first.
Keep in mind that renting a dog is a pretty controversial subject for some people, dog owners and non-dog owners alike. Be prepared to answer any questions that are thrown at you by people who disapprove of dog renting.
Make sure you know what kind type of dog you want to rent. Also be sure that the size of the dog is suitable for your living arrangements. You do not want a Mastiff if you live in a studio apartment.
Always make your home dog proof before bring your new furry friend home. Put any chemical or electrical cords out of the way of the dog’s teeth.
Even though your dog will most probably come with a chew toy, it is a great idea to have a few dog toys of your own at home that you can share with you rented dog.
If there are no dog rental businesses in your town, you can always contact your local animal shelter or rescue program and ask if they are willing to allow people to take their dogs out for a walk. Some shelters will even allow you to loan out a dog for a few days.
Photo Credit: gesika22
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan