PAW PRINTS

Check out our lat­est lineup of new prod­ucts. Plus, would you swipe right for a four-legged furry friend?

Pets (Singapore) - - Contents -

In this dig­i­tal age, the Internet plays a vi­tal role in our so­cial lives, and with on­line dat­ing sites like Match and Zoosk, it’s no won­der we’re us­ing th­ese plat­forms to help run our love lives as well. But, what if you’re look­ing for a furry, four-legged date?

Thanks to 24-year-old en­tre­pre­neur Liam Berke­ley’s startup called Bark‘N’Bor­row, you can. As the name sug­gests, the app (avail­able to United States iOS users only) helps dog lovers who don’t have a furry com­pan­ion of their own match up with a cute pup nearby for play dates and even sleep­overs. The app is free for paw-rents and dog bor­row­ers, al­though it also has a sep­a­rate cat­e­gory where pro­fes­sional dog sit­ters and walk­ers can get paid to dog-sit.

Over in the U.K. and Ire­land, an on­line sub­scrip­tion web­page called Bor­row my Doggy sets up dates for peo­ple and pooches, hop­ing to help dog bor­row­ers fa­mil­iarise them­selves with dog own­er­ship be­fore adopt­ing or buy­ing a furkid. While th­ese on­line plat­forms seem to be a great and fuss-free way to find a dogsit­ter or lend a pup, like any startup, they have in­evitably raised a few eye­brows.

“Pets are not com­modi­ties and shouldn’t be treated as such,” ex­plains Kevin Yeo, a cer­ti­fied pro­fes­sional dog trainer and be­hav­iour con­sul­tant with Pawrus Sin­ga­pore. “Bor­row­ing or leas­ing dogs with or with­out com­mer­cial fees shrinks the re­spon­si­bil­ity of own­ing a pet.”

Closer to home, back in 2008, a dog trainer, Her­bert Lim, started a dog rental ser­vice called Easy Dogz, which of­fered pooches for rent. His rental busi­ness was short-lived as the Agri-Food & Vet­eri­nary Author­ity of Sin­ga­pore sub­se­quently is­sued the Code of An­i­mal Wel­fare, stat­ing that pet shops are not al­lowed to rent an­i­mals.

“Con­stant re­lo­ca­tion from per­son to per­son is tough and this places a high amount of emo­tional stress and strain on dogs,” adds Kevin. While pro­po­nents of the bor­row-a-pup con­cept ar­gue that dog rental or loan­ing helps so­cialise dogs that would oth­er­wise be caged or eu­thanised, some de­cry it as trau­matic for pooches to adapt to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, com­mands and en­vi­ron­ments. “The thought of al­low­ing a stranger to bor­row my dog, Ace, or rent­ing him out is fright­en­ing. Like hu­mans, dogs are com­fort­able with those they have a re­la­tion­ship with, and this re­ally isn’t safe,” shares Bar­bara Wright, a dog trainer with Pos­i­tive Pup­pies.

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