FlexPetz

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I've been meaning, for a bit of time, to write about FlexPetz (no link from me, fuck them) and how much I hate the whole concept and how it makes me want to vomit. However, Laurie at BlogHer wrote a post this morning that made all of my major points without extraneous cursing, so go her.

One thing I will add is this: if you want an animal in your life, but don't feel ready to foster in your home, then you should really look into volunteering with an animal shelter or rescue. You can help homeless pets without putting them or yourself in a situation that is destined to fail. Pets should not be consumables, to be bought, or, in the case of FlexPetz, rented. While I can think of nothing in my life that has been as singularly rewarding as working in animal rescue, the rewards it brings to me are absolutely the wrong reason to do it. It has to be for them, first, last, and always.

4 Comments

See I thought this was a good idea for several reasons:
1. for kids. i think this is way preferable to kids thinking they could take care of a pet, getting it, and then giving it away in a few months. i thought this would be perfect when kids think they are responsible enough to have a pet, but aren't really. you could show them by adopting one for a day and showing them how much work it is.

2. people who know little about dogs, but want to try out a few breeds to see which one would be best.

3. people who are allergic to pets, and want to try out if a hypoallergenic pet is REALLY hypoallergenic or if they are allergic to certain breeds.

All of these goals can be achieved by volunteering, fostering, or working with breed-specific rescues to meet dogs of particular breeds - any of those choices makes a positive contribution instead of treating the dog as an object that can be taken out and played with when convenient.

Okay so if I foster a dog and figure out that I am allergic to him within an hour, how is he any better off? Are there a lot of purebreds available for me to foster to check my allergies?

And if the whole point is to bring a pet home for a day to convince your kid that they aren't responsible enough for a pet, fostering a pet doesn't really achieve that.

I just don't think it's evil to all pets to find a good fit between owner and pet, to make sure you're ready for a pet, and to save pets that would otherwise be euthanized. It's a pet one night stand!

Thanks for the shout-out, Grace.

Jenny - the "one night stand" factor is exactly the problem with these services. Sorry for your allergies, but dogs shouldn't have to be shuttled around like this to meet human needs. That's why pet rescues exist - people get in over their heads with animals they can't handle and give them up. I've had dogs for a long time and have known many people with pet allergies. They can usually tell within an hour or so if they're going to be affected. My ex could handle no pet hair or dander. He would start sniffling within a half hour or so of being in my parents' house. And given that allergies change with seasons, I wouldn't bank on it that you'd always have the same reaction.

Fostering is typically done by people who have a love for dogs in general or a particular breed, who care for them while permanent homes are being found. It's often the only alternative to sending them to a kill shelter. This kind of rental service is horrible for dogs, in my opinion. If you foster to see if you're allergic, what if you're allergic immediately and have to remove the dog from the home? A rescue organization wouldn't likely approve you to foster knowing that was a danger.

You can attend breed-specific dog shows or club meetings in your area to hang around with the animals and see if you can handle it. And as for the kids - if you feel they're not ready for a dog, tell them no. It worked for my mom. I didn't have a dog til I was out on my own. If you really want the kids to see the reality, have them hang out with a friend or family member who has a dog.

HOpe you find a dog that meets your needs, if it's the right time and place for you to have one. : )

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