From the state that popularized purse puppies, drive-thru dog washes and gourmet dog food delivery comes the latest in canine convenience — a company that contracts out dogs by the day to urbanites without the time or space to care for a pet full-time.
Marlena Cervantes, founder of FlexPetz, bristles when people refer to her five-month-old business as a rent-a-pet service. She prefers the term “shared pet ownership,” explaining the concept is more akin to a vacation time share or a gym membership than a trip to the video store.
FlexPetz is currently available in Los Angeles and San Diego, where Cervantes lives. She plans to open new locations in San Francisco next month, New York in September and London by the end of the year.
For an annual fee of $99.95, a monthly payment of $49.95 and a per-visit charge of $39.95 a day, (discounted to $24.95 Sunday through Thursday), animal lovers who enroll in FlexPetz get to spend time with a four-legged companion from Cervantes’ 10-dog crew of Afghan hounds, Labrador retrievers and Boston terriers.
The membership costs cover the expense of training and boarding the dogs, home or office delivery, collar-sized global positioning devices, veterinary bills and liability insurance. It also pays for the “care kits” — comprised of leashes, bowls, beds and pre-measured food — that accompany each dog on its visits.
Hmm….not a fan of pets personally, but the pet-industry is huge in the US (see an earlier post on bottled water for pets) – so I can see a good market for this in the urban areas. Still, shared pets sound a bit weird. What next – rent a kid ?