City Desk

Puppy Sharing: Coming to D.C.?

Stupid trend alert: FlexCars just aren't enough. Now we need to rent dogs. Shockingly, someone is willing to make money off this concept, according to a feature in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal. Enter FlexPetz (yes, with a "z"), which has come under fire for its practices in New York, London, and has all but been shut down from opening in Boston by both the city and the state of Massachusetts. No one, so far, has wimpered in D.C., where the FlexPetz Web site says a new outpost is planned for 2008. I have calls and e-mails out to the company, as yet unreturned.

One poster on the Adams Morgan listserv, at least, is interested: "it could be good for a child in a home that can't full time a dog. Not a dog owner, but curious."

If you can get beyond the fact that a dog's not an accessory or that maybe it wouldn't be so hot for a dog to jump from one family to the next, try and get over how much this costs:

  • A monthly Membership Fee of $99.95 which contributes towards providing full care for all the dogs at each FLEXPETZ location.

  • Daily Doggy Time charge (Daily Doggy Time is equal to a day, or part of day, you spend with a FLEXPETZ dog) at a rate of $45.00 per day.

  • You will be billed for 4 Daily Doggy Times per month. You are not required to take out a Flexpetz for any set number of days, but you will be billed for these minimum four days regardless of actual usage  at a rate of $45.00 per day.

  • Your Membership includes a mandatory in-home training/introduction session with a FLEXPETZ trainer....The total cost of this in-home orientation is $150.00
  • Most FLEXPETZ locations have a shuttle service that can deliver and collect a FLEXPETZ dog to your home or office. Fees vary by location but are generally $25.00 per single trip.

For those of us who don't have $500 or so to pretend to have a dog, I suggest going to a shelter, becoming a foster parent to a rescued dog, or, I don't know, consider making friends with someone who has a dog. And I don't mean this guy.

(photo by Kalimistuk)

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  • Jo

    Update from Massachusetts:
    On August 5, 2008, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Bill Prohibiting the Renting of Pets. It's now illegal to rent a pet in this state.

    Hopefully, other states will follow suit!

  • Nikki

    Geez, what is next! FLEXBABY for parents who are curious about parenthood?

  • Rob Tierney

    Good advice re: fostering for an animal welfare/rescue group. And actually, at least several DC folks (if you count the close-in burbs) put their anti-pet-rental rationale in writing. As for no time to pet full-time, then howza about child rental. I'm too busy for the diapering, med check-ups, laundry and designer babywear shopping, but would like the playing/storytime parts.

  • Misty

    Grassroots activists, linked only by email, made pet pimping illegal in the City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We had no funds. No lobbyist. No meetings, rallies, publicationsm a formal structure or even political experience. Just the Internet, homemade flyers and the will to stop this cruel, dangerous business model.

    You can do it in DC too. Just get the legislation filed and launch a viral email campaign, mobilizing phone calls to legislators at every juncture along the passage process. Tell the ASPCA, HSUS, PETA and other organizations with big constituencies you want their help. Otherwise, ten years from now, they'll all be scratching their heads and wondering at the surge in animal abandonment.

    Companies that peddle pets to use and return as the spirit moves us are the gateway to that--and worse.

    You have the power to keep that from happening. Use it!!

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