New Puppy Renting Business Is Just Plain Cruel

Say What!? 20

puppyWhen living in an apartment -- or, if you're a college kid, a dorm -- that doesn't allow pets, it's easy for former pet owners to miss the joys of having an animal around. You find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time fawning over a neighbor's pet or browsing As a dog lover who hasn't been able to live with her own dog since 2002, I definitely know how it is, believe me! But that doesn't mean I'm a fan of a new puppy rental business started by Brigham Young University student Jenna Miller.

Miller's entrepreneurial endeavor is totally well-meaning. She told the Deseret News, "The first reason I decided to start it is that college students aren't allowed to have pets and a lot of students really miss that, their pets back home." Sweet. But when you take a closer look at her business, Puppies for Rent, you realize it's anything but.

Miller's biz allows people to reserve a puppy for one or more hours ($15 an hour, $25 for two, and $10 for each additional). Money paid by renters reportedly goes toward the adoption fees, if they decide to take a puppy permanently. What's more, renters have to sign contracts, and Miller says, "They're legally protected, we see where they are going and that they are going to a good place." For instance, puppies have been rented for first dates, mothers rewarding their kids, and surprise parties.

She also says she hopes the service will give people the chance to spend time with a puppy before deciding to adopt it -- also a good intention. But the problem is that no matter how good her intentions are, how many repeat customers she has, and no matter if they ultimately become owners or not, puppies shouldn't be treated as rentable play things

The Utah Humane Society is ethically opposed to what Miller is doing, and rightfully so. Carl Arky, the Humane Society’s Director of Communication, told The Daily Mail:

It's the whole concept of renting puppies out, at a time when they need consistency and stability in their lives. We're philosophically opposed to that.

I've seen firsthand what an inconsistent and unstable environment and caretaker(s) can do to a puppy. Simply put: It screws them up for life. 'Course I'm sure some breeds are able to adapt more readily, but as a result of irresponsible, erratic caretaking, the dog I know struggled with becoming housebroken or learning acceptable behavior. She has trust issues and seems to get nervous and sad much more easily than a dog that was brought up with a consistent family, environment, and above all, routine. So sad. 

I would think/hope Miller would have all her clients screened properly, and I'm sure they're all lovely people -- some of whom actually are interested in adopting the rentable pets. But if Miller and the puppy lovers patronizing her new business really wanted what was best for the dogs, they'd realize that finding them a permanent, happy home should be their only goal.

How do you feel about this business?


Image via Ewen Roberts/Flickr



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hello... hellokd87

So she started a business for the main reason being college kids miss their pets? What happened to volunteering at an animal shelter as a dog walker/handler? Community service hours AND you get to give to attention to otherwise neglected in a kennel animals? Win win.

tuffy... tuffymama

Horrible! I can't stand PETA and their shitty tactics, nor do I agree with most of their propaganda, but I hope they do something about this.

Also, if your dog hasn't lived with you for ten years, it really isn't your dog, is it?

Jessy Roos

Call me a monster, but I don't see the problem. If these dogs are spending most of their time in a stable environment, even a good quality shelter where they get lots of care and attention, this is no different than people who take their dogs to retirement homes or any place to visit with people. We are talking about a couple of hours at a time here. Dogs are wonderful, social creatures, and I can't imagine any dog that is otherwise healthy being damaged by this.

jkp-buff jkp-buff

I have to agree with Jessy. We used to arrange playdates like this all the time for the puppies we were training so they would be properly socialized. We never thought of charging people for playing with the puppies. An hour here or there isn't the same thing as a dog who lives in a disfunctional home full time and develops problems. And from one of the articles I read, all the puppies she's rented so far have been adopted into permanent homes by people who rented them and then wanted to keep them.

nonmember avatar My turn

This is bad. And what happens when the puppy grows up? Are they "retired"? It just seems so frivolous. Tell me we are better then this.

PinkB... PinkButterfly66

Sounds like reverse pet sitting to me, where the sitter pays for the privilege of being with the pet.  

nonmember avatar ACE

I agree with Jessy and jkp-buff. It's good for socializing and animals love to play. An hour or two here or there- how is that any different than taking them to the dog park and letting them romp with other dogs and maybe even kids? Someone is forking out money to play with these puppies; after paying for their time they aren't going to hurt them.

MsRkg MsRkg

Puppy play dates are different being that at the end of the day they are going back to the same owner and the same location that they know. This is horrible. This should be illegal. These puppies won't know what is right and what is wrong , example one location puppy is allowed on the furniture in another they are disciplined. In one location something is acceptable to the renter at the time and in another it's not and they get in trouble. Dogs need stability and secure environments. This is hugely irresponsible on her behalf, and if she's a real dog owner she would realize that. They shouldn't be rented out as playthings, these are living breathing things who grow attachments to people. This is how dogs end up with separation anxiety and other issues and lash out, and it won't be the dogs fault, but the person responsible for them. I hope she gets shut down fast ! Not everything is a good idea for a quick buck!

CPN322 CPN322

I greatly dislike this idea.

CPN322 CPN322

hellokd87 - I wish someone would give her that idea!!

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