Is Rent-A-Dog A Good Idea?

Flexpetz dog rental service

Flexpetz, a for-profit company, is offering dog “ownership” to people who may not be ready for the commitment dogs require. The dogs come from rescues and are available for rent in San Diego and Los Angeles for a fee.

Itchmo Forum members are discussing the wisdom of being able to rent a pet. It’s a story that we reported on several months ago that seems to have caught the media’s attention just recently.

What constitutes a better life for these dogs? Talk about it in our ItchmoForums.

Here’s what some members had to say:

“Bad idea! who knows what the renter will do to the animals? The dog is not going to tell… Renting out any animal is a stupid, irresponsible and uncaring idea.”

“It’s a matter of what constitutes a better life for the animals. Getting basic care from people who can’t afford expensive food or vet bills is better than languishing in shelters, getting dumped by the road, being euthanized despite good health because nobody wants them, etc.”

So how much is that rental doggie in the window?
Flexpetz charges an annual fee of $99.95, a monthly fee of $49.95, and a per-visit charge of $24.95 a day. There is a $15 surchage for Fridays or Saturdays. If you want to rent a dog for 26 Saturdays in a year (ever other week), it will cost you almost $1,200 more than $1,700. But that cost does include food, veterinary checks and other costs of raising the dog.

21 Responses to “Is Rent-A-Dog A Good Idea?”

  1. Andrew says:

    Very interesting concept by FLEXPETZ, but I’m not sure it’s being implemented in a way that takes the dogs’ quality of life into account. I wrote an article about this topic two days ago on my Why Dogs? blog after hearing about it on NPR.

  2. Donna says:

    Poor idea. It’s ALWAYS about the dollar.Emtional beings for rent ? Just how sick can our society get ? Renters ,will view a dog as a piece of equipment. What about the dogs emotional needs ? I dislike the idea. Kind of like rent a husband or wife.It’s shallow.

  3. catmom5 says:

    I, too, wonder whether this provides a stable and good quality of life for the involved dogs. If people are interested in helping an animal, but not being full time pet parents, there are a lot of shelters and rescues looking for temporary foster homes. Get your dog (or cat) “fix” and do some good at the same time!

  4. Sharon says:

    Thanks for your article Andrew. It is wonderful.

  5. Lynne says:

    Our society rents women out…. (snark)

    Good point, catmom. Shelters need volunteers.

  6. KAE family says:

    I concur with Donna. I do ‘borrow’ my friend’s Dalmation for an hour daily run because our friend doesn’t walk him often and because our lit’ 12 lbs mutt cannot keep the pace with me :-)

  7. Debra says:

    This is a appallingly bad idea. The relationship that I have with my dog is not something that can be loaned out. I have some wonderful friends who have provided overnight care to Jelly when I have had to leave town. She is a great dog with wonderful house manners and they love her, but they will never know her as I know her. She is so special that I wish someone could see her and experience her as I do. If this were a launching pad for placing homeless dogs, I would wholeheartedly applaud it, but it isn’t. It is taking something precious and cheapening it by turning it into a transaction and promoting a concept that dog ownership is something you can jump into and out of. Everything that I have read about dogs says that they thrive on routine and consistency. Continually uprooting a dog seems wrong to me.

  8. Beth says:

    It sounds like a good idea from a human point of view but NOT from a dog’s point. The dog(s) will develop emotional & psychological problems (on top of the ones they are already experiencing from not having a home & from whatever past treatment received) not to mention that they can develop an attachment to a person & then they have to leave that person & go to another? This is sooooooo NOT a good idea from the animal’s side of the equation.

    Haven’t we already learned our lessons from the children that are bounced from foster home to foster home? At least children can understand (to some degree) but an animal has no such understanding & if the childrens’ outcome is any indication, what do you think will happen to the dogs? This is wrong!!!! Dogs are emotional, loving, & feeling creatures & to “play” with their emotions & lives in this fashion is not right.

    Grrrrrrr…………money grubbing humans………bah!!!!!!!!

  9. Elaine Vigneault says:

    Bad idea.

  10. Andrea D says:

    I don’t know - I have a dog that never bonded with me, even though I had him when he was a puppy, and he LOVES going to visit other people’s homes. He loves the attention, and the change. I’ve never loaned him out at all (to friends), but I’ll bet if I did, he’d be grinning from ear to ear.

    Some dogs are very social and do well with lots of different people. That said, there is something slightly worrisome about this. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

  11. Lisa Allison says:

    If people are trying to determine if they are ready to be dog owners, they should spend the day at an animal shelter, meeting the dogs available, spending time with them, feeding them and caring for them. I don’t think you need to rent one to find out if you are ready.

    Next will be rent a baby to see if we are ready to have children.

  12. Mahala says:

    This is a bad idea,think of the pets’s sake. What if one gets really attached to a family then you just rip them away from each other. Does anyone have a heart anymore?

  13. Cathy says:

    Why don’t they foster a shelter dog that’s in need. If won’t cost them a fee either.

  14. MorgulBismark says:

    This is the worst service I have ever heard of. Anyone using them should be put in jail. $100 to join, $50 per month then you get to rent one for $40. This is nothing more than doggie prostitution.

  15. Rob says:

    It’ll cost you more than $1200 for a dog every other Saturday.

    It’ll be $99.95 + (12 * $49.95) + (26 * $39.95) or $1738.05 per year.

    ITCHMO ADMIN: Thanks Rob. I have corrected the math.

  16. Barbara Miller says:

    As long as humans continue to treat animals as inanimate objects that can be RENTED or BOUGHT abuse and neglect will continue. Animal populations need to be controlled. Each bitch should be registered with a number and only three litters registered under that number (sorry AKC there goes your profit) The registration should go to the state as well and all dogs should be adopted with a fee going half to the owner of the bitch and stud and half to the humane society who will inevitably get half of them(the off spring) anyway. Dogs have become too much of a commodity. Lets sell humans, and no that is not a racial slur, I simply think dogs are kinder, smarter, more loyal, and much more worthy than most people who own them, and as for those who can only commit to rent them…. that is extremely suspect.

  17. PINKHARLEY says:

    I think this is a great idea. I personally know of alot of people that can and would benefit from this. I myself own 3 dogs and love each one. They each have a different personality, and I know that at least one of them would be great for this kind of service for others. I do agree that it will take a special kind of animal to have the emotional fortitude to accomodate this kind of service. But, it can and should be done for those that are in need of this service. The money should not be an issue because it will take that amount of money to care for them. I do not believe much profit will be made from this. As far as prostitution goes I believe only animals from shelters are being used, therefore, no breeding will go on. Yes an animal for sale is a strange concept but we are doing it for all the wrong reasons now. Take a look at the Presidential Campaign. If that is not pimping I don’t know what is. Only in America

  18. Theresa says:

    This is a letter I sent to Flexpetz, out of New York.

    An Open Letter to Flexpetz:

    Bestiality Exists: Are you Psychic?

    While it is interesting you wish to address the animal-human bond effectively, I have to say you are failing to do so. By failing to provide supervised interactions with all your animals, you are failing to provide the insurance policy that is needed to protect their welfare and health. Everyone knows animal abusers exist. Bestiality exists. Are you examining the anus/genitals of every animal that comes back? Are you running criminal checks on every person you say you so-call screen? If not, you are short-ending the animals in your care.

    I was abused at 4, and the last thing I did when I came home was say anything because no one was listening, and I would have been met with denial/dismissal. What you are doing is tantamount to renting out three-year-olds to people who present a nice front. You don’t know what happens to these animals because YOU ARE NOT THERE. Your animals have probably been raped already. This type of business brings predators and perverts out of the woodwork. Can you truly look at someone and discern their intention? I think not. Can you truly look at someone after they have returned and know EVERYTHING that has happened in your absence? I think not.

    While your aims and intentions are noble, you are not reconciled with reality. Bestiality is a reality. Lying is a reality. Deception, false fronts, manipulation, lack of love is a reality. Unfortunately humanity cannot be trusted at this time, as you are doing. Falsehood exists. And in that falsehood you are presenting the opportunity for your animals to be abused, to be raped. It is true. You are not there at every interaction. You do not know what is happening. Unless you supervise EVERY interaction with the pets in your care, you are running a brothel.

    The way to provide an insurance policy on the health and welfare of your pets is to supervise ALL interactions with your animals. Regardless. When you go for trailrides on horses, they are almost always supervised. You have to be extremely trusted and sign a million waivers to take a horse out unsupervised these days. These people are extremely protective of their investments. Unlike your situation, which has comparatively minimal investment and parlays the animals out like mini-prostitutes. It is true. Denial and naivete are no protection for the animals in your care. These archaic attitudes won’t work; they won’t stop an abuser from abusing.

    The way to effectively run a business like you want is to provide ONLY supervised interactions. Position yourself across from a small park; all solo walks must be done in the park, in sight of your business. Set up social-themed walks led by a member of your staff, ie, singles walks, gay-, political-, scienced-themed walks. The only option for a solo-walk would be with someone approved by your staff, such as a chaplain, counselor, science expert, mentor etc.

    You really have to take responsibility for the reality of the world today, if this is a business you wish to run. The animals are not safe in the world as it is today, no matter how much so-called screening you do. Unless you have a reliable animal communicator working with you, you have no way of knowing what really happens. Supervise your animals, or you are placing them in a position to be raped.

    Signed, Theresa, someone who was abused as a child, and had no voice as a child

  19. scott says:

    All really good points. But aside from the obvious fact there is a god and he placed something in dogs we are without a missing quality man is not endowed with. Call deserntrust. I know there are breeds of dogs out there that are not only bred for this purpose by accident or design,but I believe that they would thrive and become more by being exposed to more love than the normal dog. To the person that thinks people would abuse this right.I think it could be more protected or regulated than the person that buys a dog and abuses it to death, buries it in there back yard and buys another dog. At least this way the dog would be more likly to have good times also. Think of rent control, no pets allowed, children old people people would become attached to the particular dog pay any amount too buy it. $25.00 a day sounds fair pick up drop off love this idea make it happen.

  20. Anonymous says:

    i think this is a great idea because many parnets don’t want a dog messing up there house and there furniture they paied lots for . In each family there is uausally someone who does want to own a dog but is to young,and also doesn’t know all the responsibility they have to do.

  21. 4free? says:

    People can rent-a-dog for free already for a few hours or so, simply go to the local humane society or shelter, and offer to walk one of their dogs. I am sure they would appreciate somebody giving one of their animals the attention and socialization that the dog are often neglected from.

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