JoAnna Lou
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Puppies for Rent
College student makes dogs available to fill a void

I missed my pets so much when I was in college, especially when I was stressed out during exam time.  After graduation, I volunteered with Nemo and other therapy dogs to visit students at a local university during finals.  It always made me wish I had visiting pups to cheer me up during those stressful nights.

After seeing how many students at Bringham Young University were craving a pet fix, Jenna Miller started Puppies for Rent to fill the void.  She rescues puppies and rents them out until she finds a permanent home for them.  Jenna believes that the dogs are better off being rented out to pet lovers (and potential adopters) instead of being stuck in an animal shelter.

So far Jenna has adopted out 11 puppies that have been rental dogs.  Most of her clients are college students who can’t have a pet with their dorm lifestyle or families who don’t want to commit to the responsibility.

I certainly see the benefit of getting homeless pups out there and fulfilling people’s pet fix, but the idea of renting dogs is troublesome.  Jenna didn’t specify if renters are screened to make sure they’re responsible, but shelters take great care to make sure adopters, foster homes, and volunteers are ready to take on the responsibility of a dog, even if only for a few hours a week.  Renters should be subject to the same criteria.

Secondly dogs, especially developing puppies, crave consistency.  There can be a lot of confusion and conflicting rules if puppies are frequently rented to different people each day.

Finally, it feels like a contradiction that shelter pets, the poster children of getting people to realize that animals are a long-term commitment, are being rented for profit.

If people want to get their pet fix, there are lots of opportunities to socialize or foster dogs through your local rescue group.  When I was in college, I started an animal shelter volunteer club where we took dogs out to the park and taught them new tricks.  Not only did I get my puppy time, but I met many other animal lovers who were eager to play with homeless pets too.

What do you think about renting puppies?

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Screenshot from Good Morning America.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Frances | December 13 2012 |

I have exactly the same concerns as you - surely if someone is in a position to look after a puppy, they are in a position to foster or adopt. In the UK at least, puppies are usually adopted quickly - it is the rambunctious, unsocialised, untrained older dogs who are problematic. If they are renting, it implies a short term contract with no commitment to the life long welfare of the pup. Unless there are some very good checks and safeguards in place, it sounds like a recipe for making a profit through producing un-adoptable adolescent dogs to me.

Submitted by Suzy | December 13 2012 |

It seems to me that the only way this could really be ethical would be if a handler accompanied the pups to make sure they were safe and cared for. Just like renting a pony for a party if handled properly it could be a great advantage in socialization but it seems highly unlikely to be handled safely and ethically. Besides if college kids need a dog fix they could volunteer for a shelter or rescue.

Submitted by Russell Hartstein | December 13 2012 |

Exactly, puppies and dogs of all ages are up for “rent” /foster or adoption all day every day at your local shelter. In many shelters these dogs are otherwise killed. So why in the world would someone pay a fee to “rent” a dog? Also, I have a problem with the word “rent” which connotes inanimate objects, which although the law specifies is correct (due to pets “property” status) I do not agree. If you want to pay something, spend it on a donation to your local shelter who is more than likely cash deprived and get a choice of hundreds of dogs and cats every day that would otherwise most likely be killed. Win win.
Russell Hartstein CPDT Fun Paw Care

Submitted by Anonymous | December 18 2012 |

This idea would be great just for the fact that the puppies will get lots of socialization to different people, etc. I think its beneficial for puppies and people alike, if like mentioned, the renters are screened to make sure they meet appropriate environmental criteria and are responsible.

Submitted by petpost | December 19 2012 |

What a great tribute to your Abbey. Hair and all, there’s nothing like the love of a dog! They make a house a home and provide comfort, laughter, and a bit of insanity all while making you feel like you are the most important person in the world. Thanks for sharing your story.

the pet post

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