London, May 11 : Hassles like money or constant care and cleaning stops many from owning a pet of their own no matter how much they desire to have one. But a new rent-a-dog service coming to London might just make the day for such pet-lovers.
However, there are animal welfare organisation countering this service and claiming that such a service is a scheme to benefit people rather than the pets and may not provide them with that much needed stable routine and a constant owner to bond with.
Flexpetz, an American venture is coming to London after Los Angeles, San Diego and New York and is offering to rent Gucci, an 18-month-old Pomeranian.
Gucci, the first of the dog-fleet for hire in Britain can be rented once a week for 279 pounds a month and this scheme has generated interest in dozens of people.
At one time, only five people can share Gucci, who is the only dog on the books right now but Pippa Woollard, the Flexpetz facilitator claims that they will be acquiring more dogs which will be matched with pet-owners.
Woollard has promised that she would check the credentials of all potential dog tenants and will also visit their homes.
"I like to get to know them before they are accepted and would not allow a dog with anyone who gave me cause for concern," the Telegraph quoted her, as saying.
She agreed that the hire charges in Britain were higher than in the US, saying: "It is just much more expensive in Britain to own a dog. We have to ensure the correct veterinary treatments and checks are made and pet food is also dear."
While she did not disclose if the dogs' primary carers were paid or not, but maintained that all the dogs to rent were owned by Flexpetz.
The service has generated much anxiety amongst animal welfare organisations and experts and the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust have been trying to contact Woollard to discuss the details of the scheme, but to no avail.
In fact, the organisations have suggested that anyone who wants to spend time with a dog should contact a dogs' home and help to walk dogs or foster dogs for a short period until they are re-homed.
A veterinary adviser at the RSPCA, David McDowell, claimed that he was "extremely concerned" about the Flexpetz rent-a-pet service.
"There will almost certainly be an emotional impact for the dogs as they are moved from owner to owner and from home to home. Most dogs need the security of a proper routine with one owner and without this they could become stressed and unhappy," he said.
Sarah Carlin, a spokeswoman for the Dogs Trust, said: "Who does this service really benefit? Dogs need a stable routine and a constant owner to bond with and whilst the various 'owners' may provide treats and affection, the charity is concerned about the emotional impact on the dogs involved."
Even the local authorities want the business to be licensed.