Borrowing a dog is an ideal introduction to owning one – you can try various breeds, sizes and ages before azed at the number of people who buy a puppy without doing basic research and are surprised when it moults, chews, christens the rug, runs off and generally acts like a dog.
When people tell me excitedly that they are getting a puppy – just like those fresh-faced, wide-eyed new parents-to-be – I look at them with envy and pity. Like children, dogs are capable of bringing tremendous pleasure, followed by the kind of misery that makes you want to change your name by deed poll and disappear.
We look after one, very lovable, slightly daft miniature labradoodle (see, told you) every Wednesday. Ded after the jazz musician Dily.
My children love seeing him every week. Watching them play together and then curl up on the sofa afterwards, exhausted but contented, brings a smile to my face. I also love getting my doggy-fix – taking him on walks and having sneaky cuddles when the children let me get a look in.
This dynamic works – crucial in matching a dog with a borrower
Roughly 70% of borrowers used to own a dog, while some are thinking about getting one. Photograph: y Photograph: y
Our relationship with Django is now well established and we are looking forward to having him for two weeks in the summer. In turn, his family is looking forward to a holiday in France – minus Django but knowing that he will be loved and looked after.
Borrowing a dog hasn’t all been plain sailing. Django is only eight months old and about the intellectual equivalent of our three-year-old, so managing both together can be trying at times. Our son has also learned the hard way that some dogs bite. We’d borrowed a dog, before Django, who was sweet and well behaved. She trotted along by my side on walks, never pulled on the lead and played ball with the kids for hours. […]