This morning while eating a bowl of cereal at LA’s new cereal bar (only in LA) I was flipping through a mag called Business 2.0. There was an article about the top 10 trends to watch in 2008– one of which was dog rentals.
Literally, someone has started a company which rents dogs to those who want a dog, but not full time either due to expense, space or time. The company is called Flexpetz which according to them, lets you bask in the unconditional love of man’s best friend without the trouble of having to take care of it.
The owner, Marlena Cervantes, is a former behavioral therapist and says that she has seen first hand the postive effect that interacting with a dog can have on people with health problems. But oftentimes these people are unable to take on the responsibility of dog ownership.
However well intentioned Ms. Cervantes may be in her efforts to bring cheer to those with health problems, has she considered the ill effects that this is going to have on the poor dogs?
Those who sign on with Flexpetz pay $120 per month which includes food, toys and a bed. Members are required to rent the dogs at least twice a month. When the dog isn’t rented out it’s in a cage-free day care center. Potentially that’s 15 different homes a dog could visit a month!
So, the poor dog doesn’t ever get used to one location as it’s traveling around everyday, doesn’t have a place to call it’s own, doesn’t have a guardian to give it’s unconditional love to… I really feel sorry for the dog! I don’t think the service is good for the dog (for obvious reasons) or for the dog renters.
The reason that humans love dogs is because dogs give their owner unconditional love. They wag their tail for you when you walk through the door and they do absolutely anything to be with you. We always love our own dog more than someone else’s dog because someone else’s dog doesn’t jump as high when they see you or wag his tail quite as much. Who would want to rent someone else’s kid? (unless you’re a grand parent!). If this kind of service were available for human children, it would be outrageous. Of course the child would end up with deep-rooted psychological problems… well, so will dogs.
In fact, most dog adoption agencies won’t let prospective adopters “test-drive” the dog even for a night as it would be too stressful on the dog.
Furthermore, there a numerous organizations out there which bring friendly dogs to hospitals, orphanages etc. to cheer up those in need. They are called therapy dogs. in fact, dogs are quite often used in therapy. Typically this involves visiting hospitals, care facilities, nursing homes, etc. to cheer up patients. Wouldn’t that be a better option to get your daily dose of dog cheer? Visit www.therapydogs.com.
And for those healthy people who want to rent a dog– go to a dog park instead.
I really hope that Flexpetz does not become one of the top 10 trends in 2008.
What do you think? Please let us know if you think this is as bad of an idea as I do, or if there is some merit.
For ideas on bonding with your own dog visit www.happytailsspa.com