Lifestyle

Forget online dating, borrow a dog instead

Think Tinder but without the creepy pictures – and about dogs

By Emily May Webber, Lifestyle Editor

There is nothing quite like the self-satisfaction of your essays being completed and, instead of Bedford, your Sunday afternoon is spent strolling through Virginia Water whilst attempting to post an (I have my life together) Instagram photo. There comes a time, however, where clutching your iPhone whilst admiring the dogs of TW20 just doesn’t cut it anymore. Especially when you have a whole kennel club of canines tottering around your feet. It wasn’t until late night scrolling through Google that I discovered a website where I could fill that empty gap of being with my dog. I could have all the benefits of an owner, without actually having to own one.

The site ‘Borrow My Doggy’ is the creation of 39-year-old Rikke Rosenlund. After walking a neighbour’s Labrador, the brain wave for the business was born. Why should owners have to spend money for people to take care of their dogs, when so many would happily do this for free? As a student, having a dog at University is something that would be quite tricky. For many students who have grown up with a pet, moving away to University can sometimes appear a little lonely without a canine companion chewing your slipper.

Over half a million of us in the UK are borrowing dogs, so I wanted to try myself. After all, I couldn’t bear walking without a four-legged friend again. As soon as I logged on, I was presented with a whole series of dogs in my area that needed someone to take care of them. Think Tinder, yet without the creepy pictures, and awkward ‘about me’ sections. Not long after sending some messages to dogs that were close to my location, I received a message from the owner of Nacho, a Miniature Pincher who needed some extra walks and attention. After a few messages, we decided to meet at the visitor centre in the park. I felt like I was on a blind date, was he going to like me, would I recognise him from his profile picture? After meeting Nacho’s owner, we took him for a walk along the lake, his little legs leading the way whilst we got to know each other. Within the next few weeks, Nacho and I have been on walks with each other, and are quite content with each other’s company. It’s nice to know whilst his owner is out, I can enjoy some time with him. It’s surprising how such a simple concept has never been thought of before.

So if you are stuck in the library, missing your dog, or just want to help someone in the area, why not borrow a dog? Just a break in the outdoors from the cycle of essays and reading can be the best therapy.

Here are my tips for becoming a borrower:

  1. On your first meeting, arrange to meet in a social area, and maybe take a friend. Virginia Water visitor centre is a great way to get to know the owner and see how the pup is on the lead whilst surrounded by other dogs.
  2. Only message dogs on the website they are verified. This means that they have paid the membership fee, so are ready for their doggy to be borrowed. Also, check out the activity bar to see how often they log on.

 

Emily May Webber, Lifestyle Editor

Photography by Emily May Webber

This article was published in our November 2016 issue.

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