We’ve all heard the phrase, “Caring is Sharing.” But when it comes to pets, is that really practical?
While connecting with pets helps us stay connected to our humanity, pet ownership can be challenging and costly. That’s one reason why pet sharing is gaining in popularity.
Pet sharing is exactly what is implied: sharing the responsibility of caring for a pet through either a legally-binding or verbal agreement.
Who does dog sharing work for?
Pet sharing can be a good fit for animal lovers who aren’t sure whether they can take on the full responsibility of adding a furry friend to their household.
It’s a viable solution for people who are away from home most of the day or who have obligations that require constant travel.
Pet sharing is an option for busy families who own more than one pet. For example, the owners of a purebred Schnauzer who is used as a stud also have several other dogs and children. In order to give the papered pet the attention and socialization he needs, one of their friends (who runs a home-based business and does not have any pets), keeps the dog with her as part of her family. When the dog is needed for stud purposes, the owner has full rights and maintains the records. However, the friend is the one who cares for and keeps the Schnauzer full time.
A retired couple shares their dog with a young family. “Sammy” was raised around kids and loves being with children, but now that his owners are retired, life has a slower pace. Their neighbors, a family with three young daughters, wanted a dog, but debated how a dog would fit their busy lifestyle.
The retired couple asked the young family if they would like to keep Sammy for a few days. It was a wonderful experience for all of them. Sammy came home energized from being around children, the young family experienced what it was like to have a pet, and the retired couple was able to travel to see their kids without having to board their dog. Sammy continues to visit the young family’s home because of how much everyone benefits.
Balancing pet ownership responsibilities
Sharing a pet is not a canine version of the movie, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, where an inanimate object is passed around. Pets, just like their human owners, have physical and emotional needs that include stability.
In a pet-sharing agreement, responsibilities for expenses such as food, grooming, and veterinary visits must be clearly outlined.
And, because no one can predict what the future holds, the agreement should specify what happens if one family moves or can no longer care for the pet.
In lieu of setting up co-ownership, other options are available:
If your furry friend is in the house or kennel for long stretches, look into hiring someone to walk your pooch around the neighborhood. Some dog walkers are paid professionals, and some just enjoy having someone to take with them on their daily stroll.
Doggie Day Care
More expensive, but is usually fully insured and has a vetted staff. Their goal is to make sure your pet is well cared for and content while you are gone.
These can be paid professionals and franchises for long-term boarding, or friends who love your pet almost as much as you do and don’t mind caring for them while you are away.
Bark N Borrow is an app that connects people with other dog owners in their neighborhood.
Whether you share ownership of a pet with another family, or you need to make arrangements to help with pet parenting, it is nice to know that adding a furry friend to your family might be easier than you thought.