I joined BorrowMyDoggy a month ago, and around 75% of the people I told about it did. not. get. it.
“You’re paying… to walk somebody else’s dog for them?”
I get it – the thought of handing your beloved puppy over to a stranger can seem a bit weird. But it’s not like that y’all!
I’m pretty much bang in the middle of BorrowMyDoggy‘s target audience: I don’t have the time/space/money/lifestyle to have my own dog, but really really want one. And to me, splashing around in muddy puddles with an equally muddy dog is pretty much the perfect way to spend a Sunday.
If you’ve not heard of BorrowMyDoggy (which quite a few people I spoke to hadn’t) here’s how it works as a borrower:
- You pay an annual £9.99 fee, which covers your identity verification
- You verify your name and address, and photos if you want to (by sending in a short video of yourself saying your name and location)
- You complete your profile, which can be seen by dog owners
- You check out the dogs closest to you and favourite or message the ones you’re interested in walking
For me, this was very simple – I grew up with dogs and have looked after them before, so I checked those boxes and wrote a bit about what experience I had and what we were looking for in a potential match. I guess this is what online dating feels like. But, y’know, with dogs. And without a few other things.
So…. what next? You find doggies, that’s what. And this is the part where BorrowMyDoggy becomes awesome. Here’s why:
It’s frickin’ easy
The site is really simple to use, and all you need to do is send a message to a dog owner. You can see if they’ve read it, and if they like the look of your profile they’ll respond and you can set up a ‘Welcome Woof’ (which basically just means meeting the owner and dog, usually for a walk). Sometimes owners will message you first, if they’re looking for somebody like you.
Added to that, the team at BorrowMyDoggy are genuinely lovely – I’ve spoken to them a couple of times and they’re always really happy. They even talk in dog language and sign off with woofs. It does feel like talking to a cocker spaniel. Which, when you imagine it, is pretty great.
It’s super safe
Both owners and borrowers have to go through the verification steps, and you can see from somebody’s profile whether they’ve had their pictures verified too. By charging a small fee to borrowers as well as owners, you cut out some of the time wasters and because you meet together before you walk anybody’s dog, you can make sure you really trust each other before you’re handed a dog and pushed out the door.
Owners pay a fee of £44.99 per year, which covers insurance for the dog walks and also access to a 24/7 vet line for both owner and borrower in case anything happens while you’re out and about.
There’s no obligation
Because you meet before taking the dog, you can not only gauge each other and how you interact with the dog, but also chat about exactly what you’re looking for in a potential dog match. There’s no point in carrying on the matchmaking if one of you is looking for somebody to walk their dog every evening and the other is only free on weekends. This kind of stuff should be obvious from profiles, but it’s worth making sure you’re both on the same page.
And if you just plain don’t like the cut of somebody’s jib (it happens!), there’s no obligation to carry on the relationship – you can just send a message saying you’re not sure it’s the right fit for the both of you and find yourself another pooch.
That being said, there are all sorts of owners looking for all sorts of dog-lovers – borrowers who work nearby and could have a dog at their office, owners that just need a bit of extra help wearing out an exuberant puppy at the weekends, people recovering from surgery who need a helping hand while they’re out of action… You can find dogs to walk as little or as often as you like, and there’s no limit to how many dogs you can make friends with (just make sure you don’t over-stretch yourself!) Since me and Jack are pretty busy during the week, we have a couple of lovely dogs (Lyra, the golden retriever above and Maddie, a staffy cross) that we take out on an occasional weekend when we’re free.
So, if you’re looking for a little extra fluffy love on weekend (hey now…) get thee signed up and get a-meeting them dogs!
Have you tried BorrowMyDoggy? What did you think?
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