A man from Vancouver, B.C., has come up with a solution for dog lovers who are not quite ready to commit to a hound of their own.
Gavin Flett, 38, launched the dog-sharing website Part Time Pooch less than two months ago, allowing dog lovers to borrow pooches from dog owners. Owners pay a subscription fee to use the website, but those borrowing dogs pay nothing.
"For years I've been listening to people say things like, 'Oh I just want to take a dog for a walk,' or 'Why can't I just have a dog sometimes?'" said Flett.
"These are people that otherwise can't have a dog full-time. So they're getting to have their dog fix without having the full responsibility of owning it, which is good for a lot of people."
'These are people that otherwise can't have a dog full-time. So they're getting to have their dog fix without having the full responsibility of owning it,' - Gavin Flett, Part Time Pooch
Flett says he got the idea when a friend's dog sitter cancelled and he helped her look for a dog sitter online.
"I wanted to help build communities. I wanted to do something I could really feel good about," he said.
"I really encourage the dog owners to go and meet the hosts, and vice versa. Set up a little doggie play date in a neutral location in some dog park or the seawall or a beach. Get to know each other. Get to know the dog."
Flett said after people sign up for the website, it is up to them to message each other and arrange the doggie details.
Looking for a puppy pal
Dog owner Geele Soroka is an early subscriber who is looking for a four-legged friend for her two-year-old, four-pound Yorkshire terrier named Carmen.
Soroka says she was not ready to commit to full-time ownership of a second dog, so she signed up as a host on Part Time Pooch.
"I was thinking about getting another Yorkie, but it's a lot to manage for me," she said. "So, basically, this is why [I'm using] Part Time Pooch to find her a friend."
Soroka hopes to find a dog of similar size and energy levels as Carmen.
"Sometimes when you go to the park with your dog, there's not really a [pre-screening method] of interacting with other dogs other than the park itself, which can be a concern," said Soroka.
More than 100 people have already signed up, and Carmen has already met up with two Boston terriers.
"I just can't wait until more people get involved with it," said Soroka.