Puppy Rentals! It’s All the Rage?

by Mary Haight on December 4, 2012

puppy rentalPuppy rentals as a business model probably never crossed your mind. But leave it to those who know next to nothing about dogs to think this idea brilliant. I had hoped we heard the last of these ridiculous schemes with the demise of Flexpetz who tried to commercialize pet-sharing for a $100 a month membership and $45 per day charge. But, no.

Rent A Puppy Facebook Crash

As I was meandering around the neighborhoods on Facebook over the weekend, I spotted an update from Casey Lomonaco, certified dog trainer, that stood out like a neon sign on an unlit country road. Who was damaging dogs now, I thought as I read, and followed the road it led to. An encounter with suspended disbelief awaited. The “fan” page, Puppies for Rent serving Utah Valley was the destination — I pulled over and ran into what must have been over 100 negative comments made in what appeared to be an hour or two.

It should have been a joke, but it wasn’t. Wrapped in a fog of deception and half-truths, the About page and many posts on the wall made impossible-to-be-true declarations of “fully vaccinated” puppies who loved being rented out for parties and special occasions – by the hour! And *all* of their wide variety of puppy breeds were 100% adopted at 12 weeks. It must be a Christmas miracle! Puppies are claimed to come from homes who don’t want them, and animal shelters. What they really mean is the puppy mill down the road they are most probably working with, perhaps another on the internet. I have no proof of this, it’s just an educated opinion.

I can’t get to their page from FB anymore, but I can from Google. All the comments have been wiped except for those carefully engineered remarks spun out of their own back office by friends and associates.  I and all the horrified trainers and behaviorists who had commented can’t comment anymore…but that’s okay. I copied their About section which is their FAQ. I will include it at the end of the post. Although you may be able to see the real thing, I don’t care to push traffic to this place.

Puppies Need More Than Love

You can tell by the FAQ how little this business knows about this important stage of development in the life of a puppy. Yes, puppies need to be socialized, and experts like Dr Ian Dunbar say puppies should meet 100 people by the time they are 12 weeks old.  But since their shots are incomplete, it should be done from the safety of their homes, not in a college dorm, at movie night or a party. What do you think of passing puppies out a shop door to be returned in an hour or two?

Huffington Post writer Ron Dicker gave them a spot for their video and a feel-good review with no mention of the welfare of the puppies by a certified behaviorist, also no background research on the shelters they claim are the source for their party pups, with commentary from those executive directors on how the program is working. Is anyone training these puppies or are they being set up for failure?

Comparing apples and oranges, Dicker points to other programs that have legitimacy, lending effective cover should the average reader question this apparently in-it-for-the-money business. Now, in fairness, he may not know much about dogs at all and may cringe when he sees what I see (if he does). I don’t know him. He may not have meant to conflate puppy rentals with therapy dogs, maybe that’s just my take…or is it?

In case someone from this company is interested in a program that does it right, take a look at this post on therapeutic dogs in Canada by Steve Dale, who happens to be a certified behaviorist and trainer, and read this post from Sarah Wilson, My Smart Puppy, with a Masters in the Human-Animal Bond and 25 years as a trainer.

Here’s the About page with the phone number erased.

“About

Puppies For Rent aims to provide Utah Valley with the highest-quality selection of adorable puppies available to rent for dates, parties, movie nights, and special events.

Description

FAQ’s

Q: How do I schedule an appointment?
A: Simply text or call ——- to specify the location and time of your puppy rental.

Q: How much does it cost to rent a puppy?
A: Our special introductory rates are $15 for one hour or $25 for two hours.

Q: What kinds of puppies do you have?
A: Our selection changes constantly, but we always have a variety of breeds in order to satisfy different preferences. We try to maintain a selection of toy breeds as well as mid-sized and large ones.

Q: Do I need to come and pick up the puppy?
A: No, pick-ups and drop-offs are included in the rental fee.

Q: What are the advantages of renting a puppy?
Puppies relieve stress, invite conversation with strangers, and create a more relaxed, friendly atmosphere, making them perfect companions for either individual or social activities.

Q: What happens to the puppies when they grow up?
A: A major part of Puppies For Rent’s mission is to help find a home for these puppies. So far, we have had a 100% success rate with finding a home for all of the puppies by the time they turn 12 weeks.

Q: Do the puppies dislike being rented?
A: It’s actually very healthy for puppies to socialize with a variety of people, and they seem to enjoy having the chance to get played with all of the time. We also take measures to prevent our puppies feeling over-stimulated.

Q: How do you make sure the puppies stay safe and happy while they’re being rented?
A: Our puppies’ physical and emotional well-beings are extremely important to us. To guarantee their safety and happiness, renters sign a waiver stating that they will treat puppies rented from Puppies For Rent with care and respect and that, while the puppy is in their care, they are responsible for ensuring that others do the same.

Q: How can I get involved?
A: If you are fun-loving, responsible, and enthusiastic about puppies, call us and ask about joining the Puppies For Rent team.”

***

What’s your reaction to puppy rentals?

31 comments
MaryEHaight
MaryEHaight moderator

 @BobSander Thanks for that article, Bob. I'm glad a reporter finally took a comment from a shelter official, also not at all pleased with the idea.  The self-serving response that Jenna Miller gave was not promising of any future enlightenment on the subject of where, exactly, is she getting her puppies from.

BobSander
BobSander

There another question solved. 

 

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865568604/BYU-student-begins-puppy-renting-business-in-Provo.html

 

"All of the puppies originally come from people who BOUGHT them, but returned them later for different reasons, Miller said."

 

This means she is getting the pups from someone who originally sold the pups. But it doesn't say how much Jenna Miller is buying them for.  All the articles and including Good Morning America, use "abandoned" puppies, and all puppies are "adopted" out.  But still nobody knows whether or not Jenna Miller is buying these so called "abandoned" puppies. 

 

If I own an online pet store, and I have a returned puppy can I call it an abandoned puppy?  Also, I also found in other article that Jenna Miller is charging $200 for so called "adoption."  She is making money by renting and by selling.  Why is it okay for her to call it "adoption?" 

btoellner
btoellner

I realize I'm probably going to get blasted for this, but I guess to me the biggest question is, where is she getting the puppies?  If she's just breeding or buying the puppies she's of no use whatsoever, but if these are shelter puppies, this is a pretty ingenius way of "marketing" the puppies for adoption that might otherwise be killed in their local shelter. There are a lot of people who are interested in a pet, but don't really know if they're up for the full-time commitment of owning one. Some trial time can be very valuable to these types of potential adopters. And yes, the socialization can be great for the young pups as well.

 

Again, a lot of my opinion of this depends on where the dogs come from...but I do think the idea has potential as a marketing program for shelter dogs -- particularly adult dogs.

BobSander
BobSander

ABC4 News reporter Lauren Johnson wrote an article "BYU student's rent-a-puppy business helps dogs find home."  Many people are uneducated about being responsible dog owners, and that really shows when a local reporter writes a report about a local puppy rental business as an altruistic act.  A BYU student called Jenna Miller is running a business renting puppies.  The article starts with "Jenna Miller loves puppies so much, ..."  Do you remember the Octomom?  She is not dancing at a strip club and on welfare.  Is it okay as long as I act out of love, regardless of the consequences?  Alledgely, Jenna Miller's puppies are all adopted out.  But think about where these puppies come from in the first place.   Responsible breeders or shelters would NOT condone such business because they know no responsible dog owner would sit at home and have a dog delivered to them.  So, this business is mostlikely helping irresponsible dog breeders by clearing the "unwanted merchandise."  What about screening the customers?  who makes sure the people are knowledgeable enough to provide care for the puppies?  Just think about how you would react if someone is running a business renting homeless babies.  As long as I sign a waiver or affidavit, I should be okay to rent babies right?  People must know where Jenna Miller is getting her puppies. 

AmyShojai
AmyShojai

Holly crappiocca! Merry ho-ho-horrible idea, right in time for the howl-idays. Thanks for shining a light on this situation.

somethingwagging
somethingwagging

Julie Melfi posted about an operation in a shopping mall that's a little different: http://www.thedailydogblog.com/dogs/lease-a-puppy, but no less problematic. Any time we treat living creatures as commodities, we have big problems. But I suggest another idea which is to have shelters and rescues steal and transform the idea. For instance, perhaps promoting spots for volunteer dog walkers as a "rent a dog" program. Pair the new volunteer with one more experienced walker who could provide tips and support to help turn a "rent a dog" volunteer into a future adopter.  If the bad guys are getting traction with an idea, it's time to take it over. Japan became an economic superpower by borrowing ideas from other countries and refining and selling them. Maybe it's time for animal advocates to do the same. 

doggiestylish
doggiestylish

I think it's a super idea! Exposing young puppies under 12 weeks of age to God knows what diseases and putting them in potentially bizzare/frightening situations during their first fear imprint period. Really, what could possibly go wrong?

mgilstrap19
mgilstrap19

This is the worst thing I have ever heard of regarding Puppies. How do they know these puppies are being treated well? Puppies are not fully vaccinated and can catch Parvo and Rabies until they have all of their shots and this is way too young to be letting them out. Many diseases are air born.

I have a puppy right now and we are so careful with her, this just makes me sick. What about the emotional distress of the puppy? They are not even thinking of the bonding the puppy has with the owner.

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