Rental dogs business disgusts
A BUSINESS launched this year in the UK rents dogs to customers for an hour at a time to take on walks or to parties. The idea was hatched and spread from Los Angeles in the USA and has now hit London and Glasgow.
On the surface it may be a good idea, but think about it. Dogs need a stable home environment to be happy and free of stress. To have strangers taking them for walks and to events for no other reason than as a wardrobe enhancement, or even worse a personality enhancement for the person on the other end of the lead, is just criminal. Dogs are not stupid - they know when they are with a person who couldn't care less about their welfare.
When informed of the new "business" Caroline Kisko, the Kennel Club spokesperson, said: “When someone rents out a dog their main interest is their own enjoyment, not the welfare of the dog. Dog lovers should be encouraged to volunteer to walk dogs for their local re-homing centre (free of charge) rather than paying up to £4800 a year for the privilege. Responsible owners realise that dogs require consistency as well as companionship, and that changes to routine can cause behavioural problems."
FlexPetz has promised to rent out only dogs aged 2-5 years but there are large questions to be answered about what happens to the dogs after that age - are they to be cast off into a rescue home or even worse? And where are they until they reach two years old - do they have training to prepare them for their duties or are they simply expected to adapt to others after having one owner for two years?
And what of the people who rent the dogs? Are they being vetted for suitability? Are they required to pass a test of competency? Do they even know how to feed a dog? Are they able to keep it safe? Will the dog have time to rest in a safe place? Is it going to be hassled by uncontrolled children, other animals or larger numbers of adults? Will it be sheltered from the weather and have water available to drink? The idea of renting a dog by the hour to people who have no experience in caring for a dog is just horrific. Anyone willing to subject their own dog to that type of exploitation is not a responsible, caring or loving owner.
But why is there even any call for such a business in the first place? The answer is that it is an ultimate luxury for the wealthy or those in the public eye who either want the status of walking a flamboyant dog without the hassle of hair on the carpet or dealing with fleas; or desire to create the impression among members of the public that they are "nice, caring people who take their dog with them on public engagements".
According to reports there is a healthy interest in the scheme. The manager of Flexpetz said that the company owns the dogs but that they live with families who own other dogs. It is not clear whether the carer families are paid by Flexpetz to take care of their dogs or who pays for their veterinary and food bills. Flexpetz has also claimed that they do meet their clients and assess their suitability to rent the dog - but how can they be sure that the client will not harm the dog either from frustration or by accident?
If the people who are lining up to rent dogs really want to show that they care, why do they not simply volunteer for work at their nearest rescue organisation, walk the rescue dogs once a week or even fortnightly, and donate the money they would be paying for a rented dog to a worthy rescue organisation? If these enthusiasts have very little spare time then why not just donate the money, and if they have time to spare, why not donate both? There are massively better ways to show the world how good they are than to rent a dog.