Unable to own a dog? Why not rent one?


Have you ever been out for a walk on a nice, warm, sunny day and wish you had a dog with you? Have you ever been sitting in the park watching dogs play and wish you had one too?

Maybe your lease does not allow dogs or maybe someone in your household has allergies. Perhaps you’re just away on a vacation and miss your own dog.

What can you do to curb these canine blues?

Volunteering at an animal shelter is one way to help curb the canine blues. However, if you aren’t able to meet the minimum hourly requirements (many shelters ask for 8 hours a month), you may need another alternative.

A company known as FlexPetz has several locations in major cities. At FlexPetz, you become a member after an interview and pay a monthly membership fee. All their dogs are rescued from shelters, well-trained, and up to date with vaccines. FlexPetz will not allow any dog that does not know basic commands and have leash walking skills to be rented out. You can rent a dog for a day and take a nice stroll around the neighborhood, take it home and have it hang out with you, and then return the little pooch to FlexPetz.

Renting a dog has begun to catch on and some shelters around the country are embracing the concept as a way for potential adopters to “test the waters” of pet ownership.

Stray Rescue of St. Louis in St. Louis, Mo. has a Rent-A-Pet program where you can take a dog home for a weekend and see if you are ready to commit to caring and providing for a dog. They have an application on their website and upon approval, you can foster a dog and help the dog relearn what it is like to be in a home and not in shelter. Randy Grim, the author of Miracle Dog, the only dog known to have survived the gas chamber at the St. Louis Municipal Shelter, founded the rescue. Adoptions have boosted for this organization since the program started in 2007.

The Aspen Animal Shelter in Aspen, Co. also has a Rent-A-Pet program. You can take a dog home for the weekend and give it a break from daily shelter life. If you are on vacation and would love to snow shoe with a dog, you can call and see what their criteria is for an out of towner looking to take a dog out for a walk.

Renting a pet can be great and beneficial for the dogs as well as the people. If you are vacationing somewhere and would love to take a hike or walk with a dog, call the local shelters and see if they have implemented a pet rental program and what criteria they have to participate in it. A dog will thank you for it!

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3 thoughts on “Unable to own a dog? Why not rent one?

  1. Hi,
    In all of the websites above, are the rentals for dogs in the shelters that were abused or that are waiting to be adopted? Or possibly both?

  2. The dogs are rescued from shelters… some may have experienced some form of neglect or abuse while others were probably surrendered due to allergies or their former owners moving and unable to find a place or keep the dog. The companies and rescue organizations would know the history of the dogs better than I would.

    Either way, these furry friends can fulfill a need in someone’s life and receive a lot of TLC from new people.

  3. i’d like to find out about renting a dog for a weekend to see if i can add a dog to my 2 declawed cat family? any ideas. I live in San Diego and walk outdoors everyday a lot. let me know if this is possible. Naturally i’d keep them seperate until they get to know each other.