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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pet Prostitution

I swear, it is pure coincidence that two other of my recent posts have had to do with prostitution. I have no fixation. I'm just commenting on the news. But have you read this story about a company in California renting out dogs by the hour to people who say they don't have time to actually own a pet?

Essentially, this service is for those people who want to take a dog on a walk but don't want the other responsibilities of ownership, or don't have time for them, or don't have room in their homes for a pet.

I gotta tell you this is essentially animal prostitution. Get your mind out of the gutter. I'm not suggesting anything sexual between these folks and the rent-a-dogs. But I am saying that such an impersonal relationship, purchased on an hourly or daily basis is extremely similar.

If you don't want a pet don't get one. If you don't have room for a pet, don't get one. If you just want to see animals for an hour or two or a day at a time,, go to the zoo. If you want to get up close and personal with those animals, go to a petting zoo. But to rent a dog for short-term, temporary companionship? Those dogs are getting pimped and the renters are sort of like Johns.

And I say this as a non-tree hugger, as someone who knows the difference between humans and animals. But as my grandma would say, this service is triflin'.

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  • How odd for the dogs - who do they bond to?

    By Anonymous Karmyn R, at 2:19 PM  

  • Good question. I would think this would be torture for dogs. Sure they get off on human attention. But they're not dumb. They need consistency just like we do.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 2:25 PM  

  • I've wondered when someone would come up with such a service as I play with other people's dogs at beaches and parks because I love them, but can't have one where I presently live.

    I worry, too, that the dogs will feel constantly rejected, and then confused, as they visit the same people over and over but keep getting returned to the kennel.

    It's unfair. It objectifies living beings and takes advantage of the good nature of most dogs, not unlike a kind of prostitution, as you suggest.

    Dogs are not accessories.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 2:31 PM  

  • If somebody really needs a dog fix he or she could volunteer at an animal shelter a couple of days a week. That would be much better.

    The local human society needs people to come by in the evenings and on weekends and walk the dogs and play with them.

    By Blogger Jay, at 3:00 PM  

  • Jay, that's a really good point. Instead of renting a dog from these yahoos so they can make a profit, volunteer at the Humane Society and donate the money you would've spent on dog rent to them. Kill two birds with one stone. Good advice, my friend.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 3:12 PM  

  • James, I am sure that these folks would balk at your assertion that this is pet prostitution.

    It is clearly a pet "escort service". What the clients and dogs do on their own time is their business. ;)

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 3:15 PM  

  • It seems to me like these pets would feel like those foster home kids that are transferred from house to house without being able to call anyone of them "home"...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:21 PM  

  • I wouldn't trust someone who wanted a dog for an hour.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 4:42 PM  

  • Actually, this might be a welcome service for those who are unable to own dogs, such as the elderly and disabled. Dogs are so empathetic and friendly and just might give someone a needed lift, especially if they get to visit on a regular basis. Just a thought.

    Of course, this doesn't account for or excuse those who are renting these pets as accessories and/or chick/guy magnets.

    By Anonymous Suzy Q, at 6:52 PM  

  • I like your grandmother's logic the best - she was spot on target there!

    By Blogger Jeni, at 2:33 AM  

  • How sad, the slogan "A pet is not just for Christmas" is just put in the bin isn't it?

    By Blogger Cazzie!!!, at 5:21 AM  

  • What happens if the renter becomes attached to the dog? Is there a rent-to-own option?

    "Nope, sorry! Your week is up. Back AWAY from the rent-a-pet."

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 6:47 AM  

  • At the retirement home where my in laws live they have weekly visits from a group that brings in a variety of pets for the old folks to cuddle and touch. The pets and people seem to enjoy it and they have found that it has a health benefit,lowering Blood Pressure and reducing stress. The animals go from place to place all the time even though they live with their owners and they seem to consider it their "job". When I think of all the bored house pets and all the lonely people, I just can't see this as a bad thing. I will agree that our modern world is pretty crazy though and that some people are just doing it to pick up members of the opposite sex. Some people babysit for the same reason I've heard, in case if you want to talk about ten kinds of inappropriate!

    By Blogger wordsonwater, at 7:38 AM  

  • Back in the day when I was a student, & it was fairly well waaaay back, it was quite the done thing to visit the nearby dogs' home and take one or more of the 'inmates' out for a walk. Thus giving both 'inmate' & student healthful exercise. Come to think of it, present day students do the same with present day dogs' home 'inmates'.

    Which isn't the same as this Rent-a-Pet thing at all.

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 8:17 AM  

  • But what if I wanted to meet a chick in the park? I would definitly rent a dog for a couple of hours. I'd even pretend to that I liked the dog if it meant that I was going to get me some action. ;)

    By Blogger captain corky, at 9:16 AM  

  • Five dolla, you walk me long time. Five dolla, walkie walkie.

    I see a South Park episode in this.

    By Blogger Wavemancali, at 11:05 AM  

  • they don't call this the land of fruit and nuts for nothing!!

    By Blogger Claudia, at 12:16 AM  

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