Thursday, November 8, 2007

Who wins and who loses with rent-a-pooch?

Have you heard about the latest trend of renting a dog? It's said to be gaining popularity in California and is being touted as perfect for those upscale folks who are just too darned busy during the day or the week to care for an actual, live dog. Companies will rent out furry companionship to these poor, overworked people, giving them, of course, their choice of breed, size, sex and color.

Thankfully, there's only one company currently in the biz and they're charging clients like there's no tomorrow - a registration fee of about $300 PLUS a maintenance fee of around $50 per month PLUS another $24.95 per 24-hour visit from a dog who may visit someone else the next night and another the next. You get the picture.

My concern about such an arrangement is three-fold. How are these dogs cared for in between their rent-outs? And what happens to these dogs when they get too old or no longer cute enough to be used as a profitable commodity?

This isn't like going down to the local shelter and picking out a dog needing a good forever home. These dogs don't get homes. They get gigs, like freelance writers. They don't get to be anyone's forever companion. They get pimped out, used up, and then, well, who knows their fate?

I hope this renting of dogs idea poops out quickly. And if not, I hope animal welfare people will start keeping an eye out and stand at the ready to care for any dogs in need that are created by these businesses.

No comments: