May 8, 2008 at 9:50 pm 2 comments

A friend of mine sent me this link for what’s basiclly a “rent-a-pet” organization. What’s the difference between this and “rent-a-kid”? not much really. And where are these dogs when their not being rented? The website says they are not kenneled, they have a consistent caretaker (although they call it a carer, whatever that is), and they hang out with the other dogs all the time. Its not a completely horrible idea but isnt it just another form of exploitation? They have a fancy little flash website but I can just as easily see them with a crappy homemade website with silly animations and fonts. The dogs are trained, given regular vet checkups and occasionally adopted. I like the idea of the dogs being Fostered by people who want time to make a decision, see if pet ownership is for them etc but the site seems more marketed towards renting the pets as someone would rent a car or movie.

pet renters

From their website:

“FLEXPETZ is a shared dog ownership concept that provides our members with access to a variety of FLEXPETZ dogs. All FLEXPETZ dogs complete obedience training and some FLEXPETZ dogs are also certified as therapy dogs.

Through the FLEXPETZ shared dog ownership concept, members can spend from just a few hours to a number of days with each of our dogs. FLEXPETZ dogs are available in varied breed sizes to ensure compatibility with our member’s individual lifestyles and unique circumstances. “

Their FAQ section provides some information on their goals and reasons behind their methods:

Where do FLEXPETZ dogs live when not with a member?

FLEXPETZ dogs live in a home environment with a primary carer when not with members. Our dogs are active with their primary caregivers and love to frequent the beach, local dog parks and long walks several times daily through the beautiful cities where they live.

Are FLEXPETZ dogs ever adopted?

YES! We have already had a number of successful adoptions. This has happened after a member realizes that thanks to their FLEXPETZ membership, that they can have a dog fulltime . We anticipate a constant rotation of dogs being adopted out and new dogs entering the FLEXPETZ program.

What happens when the dogs get old or sick?

Our dogs are all 2 -5 years of age. We select these ages because the dogs have developed their personalities and have been properly socialized by this age. FLEXPETZ dogs are veterinary checked every 3 months and all veterinary fees and related expenses are covered by FLEXPETZ. If a FLEXPETZ dog becomes unable to continue within the FLEXPETZ program due to illness or ailment the dog would be provided for by FLEXPETZ for life and placed into a permanent home.

Why would a person want to ‘share’ their pet?

Many people work long hours, travel frequently or have housing/jobs/activities that are not dog-friendly. Our members realize that full-time dog ownership would be unfair to the dog and choose to be FLEXPETZ members instead.

Are the dogs stressed by going home to home?

FLEXPETZ dogs live with one primary carer and their pack of FLEXPETZ dogs where they happily play and are never kenneled. When FLEXPETZ dogs visit with members it always full of fun time! Members plan for the time with a FLEXPETZ dog and the dogs are loved and adored with undivided attention.

Where do the dogs come from?

All of our dogs are either rescued or rehomed. We carefully screen each dog for social skills, temperament, interest in befriending people, and ability to easily adapt to different people. We provide a happy, healthy life in our extended family structure. If a dog demonstrates he/she is owner dependent, skittish, or demonstrates a history of abuse/mistrust in humans we will help the rescue group or owner to adopt the dog out to one permanent home sensitive to the dog’s unique needs.

How many owners per dog?

Each dog is different, and depends on what the dog demonstrates he/she can handle.

How are the members screened?

We gather a great deal of personal information from our potential members and meet all in person in the presence of a certified dog trainer. Each member participates in a training session and must be able to demonstrate sensitivity, compassion, patience and the desire to be a responsible dog owner. We also have each member sign documents stating he/she has not had any history of animal violence or abuse and a promissory note to treat all FLEXPETZ dogs with absolute respect. The first time a member wants to spend time with a FLEXPETZ dog, the dog is taken to the member’s home which is checked by our FLEXPETZ facilitator.

How do we make sure the dogs are properly fed/cared for?

FLEXPETZ provides prepackaged and premeasured food for any time the FLEXPETZ dog will be in a member’s company. This maintains consistency of diet for our dogs and is another wonderful feature of FLEXPETZ membership. We also provide chew toys and instruct members never to feed our dogs any unapproved food or table scraps. Some treats are acceptable and must be okayed by our FLEXPETZ staff.

Our dogs are carefully monitored and great attention is paid to eating habits, bowel movements, energy levels, unique personality traits and habits. We treat each dog as an individual and pass along detailed personal information to members in contact with the dog.

Does FLEXPETZ have any other species?

The FLEXPETZ family consists of dogs only.

I dont know what I think of this.. well I know i mostly dont like it but it makes me sad that society has gone this direction. Rich business men and women can rent dates (escorts), cars, vacation houses, and now even pets. Should we really involve pets in our consumer culture addictions? Cant Flexpets just run a normal non profit donation center like everyone else rather than exploiting these dogs for profit in a constant rotation. It may be harmless I guess, and thats the most important part but does that make it right?

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Entry filed under: Blogroll.

A Dogs Life in China Bush is at it again

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. nat  |  July 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    What if there are people, even just a couple, who because of this “service” choose not to purchase a (probably pet-store, puppy-mill) dog who will end up spending most of his time at home in a crate and every other weekend in a boarding kennel? It happens; I’ve worked at a boarding kennel and we had a host of regulars. While I’m all against the commodification of dogs, individually and as a whole, I think that there are situations in which what is effectively a dog-sharing program can be a positive experience for those involved. (I couldn’t say whether this was a positive experience or not- I haven’t met the owners or “carers”, seen the homes, etc. I’m just saying as a general idea…)

    Your blog looks great. I ended up here after somebody followed a link on your page to a picture of our rescued pup on flickr- I was checking out how people found my pictures.

  • 2. nat  |  July 28, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    that was supposed to be a closing parenthesis, not a winky face. huh.

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