Sunday, 29 June 2008

A dog's life

Upon hearing about FlexPetz, I thought that it was my long-lived dream of having a dog in London finally coming true. So I thought, until I actually visited the site of the company moving to London from the States and supplying this rent-a-dog service to the busy, mobile, or the purely lazy urban dog lovers. I never thought that the shared ownership would be doable, simply because I think it requires a set of conditions that makes it convenient for the owners and not upsetting to the animal. I would guess that something along the lines a close friend or family member who lives in the same street would potentially do, but a company-facilitated dog rental? I think that the business has a potential of making some people happy, but is it really the right way to go about dog sharing? The other side of this is the money: not only does FlexPetz charge a monthly fee of 100 GBP, but on top of that requires a mandatory fee of at least 180 GBP a month for the minimum of 4 days a month it assumes you'll spend with the dog. Some of the funds FlexPetz generates do go to caring for the dogs, but ekhem, has sharing anything ever been more expensive than full ownership?

So how will the dogs feel about all this? FlexPetz claims that a dog will have a maximum of 2-3 owners at one time, but how many owner will that amount to over the dogs entire life? What are the 'permanent' homes that they go to once too old and sick? In principle, they aren't all about money and convenience - all the dogs are rescued, but doesn't FlexPetz really leave them to a fate similar to the one they seek to leave, a semi-permanent life of seeking the one owner that will not get rid of them once they're inconvenient? Maybe shared dog ownership is a good idea, but one that just isn't workable on a business scale?

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