If you live in London getting a dog, in all honesty, is the stupidest thing one could ever do. Especially if you live in a one bed flat, with no garden. You spend most of your time watching and walking behind the bloody thing, yet somehow you still step in a puddle of (hidden) your puppy cold pee saturated deep in your wooden floor. A typical reaction to this is something along the lines of “SAAAAMMM, why here?” That’s the second stupidest thing one can do. And thanks to my bouncy springer spaniel, I have done them both. Of course ten minutes later we’re on the sofa and while he is chewing one of his toys, I rev his ears like motorbike handles. Sometimes I even sing along some nursery songs playing on youtube. “if you happy and you know clap your hands (clap, clap) If you happy…. …” and he starts running up and down the room, so fast!
Well yes, I got a hyperactive wrecking ball, very lively, friendly, playful and very smart. He loves his toys and keeps himself ‘busy’. When not asleep, Sam more than likely have his nose to the ground, bottom in the air, and he’ll be either rooting around in the undergrowth or zigzagging from sniff to sniff. His tail is always wagging back and forth so hard to make his rear wag too. He does make me laugh lots.
Once upon a time, I lived a mostly indoors London life consisting of meeting rooms, the back of taxis, bars and my bed. Nowadays I know all the parks, the canal paths, the al fresco cafés and beer gardens that tolerate four paws. Sam changed my world, but this is London, where nothing to do with dog-owning is ever easy. I now realise that Battersea Dogs Home is jam-packed with the cast-aside pets of Londoners who hadn’t quite thought it through.
Sam is with me all the time. Follows me everywhere I go, also when I go out. Unfortunately, some places he is not allowed. For instance, supermarkets, food stores and even IKEA don’t allow dogs.
The look he gives me when I leave home breaks my heart. (if you have a furry friend you know what I mean).
While looking for a local dog walker and paying groups for puppies and dogs options, I came across Borrowmydoggy website. For those not familiar with it, it’s a place where people with dogs can connect with other dog lovers (but for whatever reason not able to have one).
Let’s say you are a young person away from home. You miss having a dog terribly and looking to have an excuse to take a break from your studying and get some fresh air. Or you are a keen early morning runner, would like to have a dog run with you but unable to commit to looking after a dog full time. Or you are a young family with kids and would like to experience what dog would be best for you? Wouldn’t you love being able to borrow someone else’s dog for just a couple of hours?
The idea behind BorrowMyDog merely is excellent, it is a win-win situation: the owners get some help with the pet care, the borrowers get some furry time, but most importantly the dogs get cuddles, exercise and love.
I didn’t sign up straight away as I was not sure if it was worth it, Then I realised that the sub fee for owners would be as much as a couple of walks with a dog walker. Being able to use the site for a whole year, I had not much to lose if it didn’t work as stated.
So I signed up, and all I had to do was to set up a profile for Sam, with pictures, a description of him and with the sort of help I needed. Once the profile page was complete, I started looking for possible matches, and I was amazed to see the number of people out there craving dog time. After a couple of days, I met an incredible young couple keen to walk and look after Sam.
When I met them, I knew that they were just perfect. If you have a dog, you can recognise straight away a real dog lover, and I’m sure your furry friend can too. They took Sam with them to the park and looked after him beautifully. Sam had a great time; I had no worries living him in their care. Soon after many other borrowers came through the site, and I have never been disappointed.
Some people could say: one shouldn’t get a dog if you cannot care for it well. That’s right, but sometimes things happen: a change in work or the family situation can make looking after your dog more challenging, and it’s great to have some external support.
The platform works well when both parts show respect and understanding. One should not take Borrowmydoggy just as “free pet care”. You don’t want to take advantage of peoples generosity and use them as a free hotel. You shouldn’t expect people to look after your dog all day, all the time. And make an effort to adapt to your borrower’s schedule and flexible to find several borrowers mainly if you are away often/for long period of times. With that in mind, Sam and I have met some fantastic people and could not be happier with it.
I know that Borrowmydoggy is only in the UK for now, but if you are reading this and you are a borrower or a pet owner member of the site, leave a comment, I would love to hear your experience.