Sharing... It's the Wave of the Future!

Thanks to the lovely Kristin for forwarding this to me... I guess listening to crappy radio morning shows has its benefits after all. I kid because I care...

Anyway, you've heard of FlexCar -- the program that lets members borrow cars all across the city to run errands -- well now there's FlexPetz. Too busy for dog ownership? Worried you won't have the money for vet bills? Well fear not my not-yet-commited dog liker, just share a dog with someone else!

From this article on

SAN FRANCISCO - From the state that popularized purse puppies, drive-thru dog washes and gourmet dog food delivery comes the latest in canine convenience — a company that contracts out dogs by the day to urbanites without the time or space to care for a pet full-time.

Marlena Cervantes, founder of FlexPetz, bristles when people refer to her five-month-old business as a rent-a-pet service. She prefers the term "shared pet ownership," explaining the concept is more akin to a vacation time share or a gym membership than a trip to the video store.

"Our members are responsible in that they realize full-time ownership is not an option for them and would be unfair to the dog," said Cervantes, 32, a behavioral therapist who got the idea while working with pets and autistic children. "It prevents dogs from being adopted and then returned to the shelter by people who realize it wasn't a good fit."

The article continues...

For an annual fee of $99.95, a monthly payment of $49.95 and a per-visit charge of $39.95 a day, (discounted to $24.95 Sunday through Thursday), animal lovers who enroll in FlexPetz get to spend time with a four-legged companion from Cervantes' 10-dog crew of Afghan hounds, Labrador retrievers and Boston terriers.

Nobody else will say it, so I'm going to have to. I'll be first in line if they ever come up with a FlexKids program. Just think about the possibilities. Can't find a dog-sitter? No problem, just rent a kid to watch your pets for you! It's perfect!

As for FlexPetz, I think it's a great idea. I'm sure there are going to be those people who will use it as just another reason to chide Californians or call it inhumane but this really is a great way to give people a chance to see if pet ownership is really for them, all without risk of the dog becoming neglected, abused, sent to the pound, or euthanized. And getting back to the FlexKids program, I know I'm going to hell for saying so, but there'd be a lot of kids a whole lot better off out there if their parents had been able to take a couple of kids for a test-drive and see if parenting was really for them. And besides, as any divorcee can attest to (or children of divorcees) it's very easy to be a good parent, or in this case master, one or two days a month. It's all play time. The dogs will (hopefully) get undevoted attention and the person using the FlexPetz service will hopefully plan a fun day around being with the dog -- after all, the service isn't cheap. It's win-win.

And as for FlexCar, business is booming for those guys. So much so that UPS is getting in on the act. I know if I lived in the city I would totally get a membership with them. If for no other reason than FlexCars seem to have reserved all the best parking spots near REI.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

The only reason why you're going to hell is because you're right, and we all know that people who see reality are those who go to hell ;-)

But yes, I perfectly agree with you about both the dog and child "test-drive". We love our new puppy and probably are the best parents that little puppy could ever come by, but it really is a ton of work and a change of life and for someone not prepared, I can't imagine what they'd be in for (we waited over a year before finally getting her)! I'm guessing that the puppy training is a good prep for child-bearing, but speaking with friends who are first-time parents suggests it's probably much worse.

Why do you think grandparents love being grandparents? They get to enjoy all the perks of children without the's a good deal!