Dog Rental Service Draws Criticism

flexpetzHave no time for the daily duties of owning a dog, but still wish you could have one? A California-based company is offering a dog rental service for those too busy–or too lazy– for the full-time responsibilities of owning a pet. Flexpetz already has locations open in San Diego, New York and Los Angeles, with plans to open four more locations in 2008.

According to a Dec. 17 article in the Boston Globe, in order to rent a dog from Flexpetz, customers must pay $300 in initiation and membership fees in addition to rental fees. A weekend day with a dog costs about $40. Flexpetz also offers drop-off and pickup services. Customers may rent the same dog as many times as they want, or choose different dogs to interact with each time they use the service.

The idea of a dog rental service does not sit well with some, including many animal rights avtivists. According to the Boston Globe, activists believe the rental service promotes dogs as disposable items, and deprives dogs of a long-term and stable environment. On the Flexpetz Web site, the company says its dogs live with one primary caregiver and are not stressed by going from home to home. It also points out that dogs are available for adoption, and it anticipates a constant rotation of dogs being adopted out and new dogs entering the rental program.

K9 Commentary:

In theory, the idea of renting dogs to people who want to have a dog, but do not have the time for full-time pet responsibility, seems pretty good–the dog has constant attention and isn’t neglected. However, one thing good dog owners know is their canine companions need stability to truly be happy and well-adjusted.

Part of the joy of having a dog is building a relationship—which includes cleaning up their poop every day, discipline, and going on walks and trips together. Hundreds of dollars don’t have to be spent for those wanting to spend time with a dog on a Saturday morning. Many dog shelters allow people to take dogs out on walks for free. It’s important to stop seeing things from the point of view of the humans. People often want a dog on their terms. It seems as though there is not enough consideration for the pets in this case.

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