Readers, I’ve met someone.
He’s dark, handsome, fun, affectionate, likes going for long walks and loves snuggling with me on the sofa.
Who is this mystery man you ask? Well, his name is Reuben and he’s an eight-month-old miniature dachshund.
‘Puppy’ was the word scrawled across the top of my Christmas list every December since the age of three. As a child, I memorised every breed in the world, as well as their personality traits, hair-type and how often you had to exercise them.
But, I never owned a furry friend. And, now I am an adult (I use the term quite loosely!), I still can’t get a dog because I work long hours and like to travel often – it wouldn’t be fair.
So, to subdue my two-decade-long yearning, I signed up for BorrowMyDoggy.
BorrowMyDoggy is a sharing app which matches up dog owners, with people who want to borrow their dogs. Owners pay £44.99 a year, while borrowers pay £12.99. For that price, I thought it was worth a shot.
The whole experience is rather like using Tinder, or any other dating app. You upload a profile, with a few words on why you’d make the perfect companion citing any previous experience with dogs. The app allows you to scroll through profiles of dogs close to you, checking out their photos, finding out the breed, age, availability and habits.
And the anxiety of using a dating app is quite similar. You message potential puppy pals and then there is the wait for a reply. You realise that although there are a lot of profiles, they may not be active or maybe owners have found another candidate with more canine credentials, who they would rather lend their puppy to.
I messaged nine dogs before I got a match. But then, much like boys or buses, they all came at once.
View this post on Instagram
This is my new pal Emmy 🐶 she wasn’t too sure about going out with me this morning but then she loved the park ❤️🎾 ☀️ isn’t she the cutest? @emmytheeastendchocooatelab @borrowmydoggy . . . . #london #londonlife #dogsofinstagram #labrador #chocolatelab #instadog #photography #instadaily #discoverunder10k #lbloggers #lifestyleblogger #inspo #walkies #dogstagram #doggo #abmlifeiscolorful #darlingmovement #livesimply #labsofinstagram #doglovers
Usually, you arrange to meet the owner and their dog first, to see if you get on. Like a first date, only you’re being judged.
On my first date, with a Chocolate Lab called Emmy, I chased her around with a stick, while her dog mom watched over, assessing my capabilities. I felt like I was auditioning for a part in a really bad sitcom.
The first meet is also a chance for the borrower to scope out the dog and the owner.
I went to borrow an English Bulldog puppy only to find he was 12-weeks-old and barely trained (BorrowMyDoggy guidelines state a dog should be three months old before registering). When I messaged the owner again to arrange a doggy date a month later, he had given the puppy away.
Once you’ve found a dog you like, and you’ve got the owner’s approval, you’re free to borrow the doggy for an afternoon, a day, even a whole weekend. It’s about building up a relationship with the dog, so don’t expect it to be a *cough* walk in the park to begin with, but it is worth it in the end.
Here are some of the dogs I’ve met so far…
Pretty sure he’s a Chihuahua/King Charles Cavalier cross, but not entirely sure. He was very well-behaved, but not really a people person!
A lovely Chocolate Labrador who loves going on long walks and running around. She is very docile and sweet but still learning to play fetch!
Reuben is my new best friend. He’s adorable, playful and turns heads wherever you take him! And he’s especially sweet when sleeping…
Some essential dog borrower buys…
This crate is perfect for leaving muddy shoes in after a long walk. It’s £29.99 from Vintage Apple Crates.
They also make these cute personalised dog beds from £42.99 here
One last puppy shot: