She is well behaved and loves a good run." Indeed, one of the things I noticed about BorrowMy Doggy was that it had focused my attention much more keenly on what I really wanted out of a dog.This is one of many parallels online dog borrowing has with online dating.By contrast, Borrow My Doggy presented a large array of eager-looking dogs within a 10-mile radius of my home, all of which were just a simple online message away. High up on it were Rico and Raffi, two sibling lagotto romagnolos, described as ‘boisterous’ and ‘gentle-natured’ – both of which looked like they could have easily been fronting a stoner rock band.
Way back in the previous decade I borrowed dogs from people I met in real life.
There was Nouster, a proud Border collie that lived with my landlord and which I would walk around the Broads near my house in Norfolk.
Since then, the lives of humans and dogs have become more virtual, and different ways to meet dogs have become more acceptable. Borrow My Doggy is the first site of its kind, and aims to provide an inexpensive, mutually beneficial arrangement for owners who need minders for their dogs, and dogless folk, such as me, who love dogs but prefer to love them in a part-time sort of way.
In spring, I had moved to a new part of the country – Devon – and my initial attempts to meet dogs to borrow had proved unsuccessful. It was founded two years ago as a weekend project by Les Cochrane, an RSPCA volunteer, and Rikke Rosenlund, a dog lover who could never have a dog as a child because of her mother’s allergy.
It turns people into box-tickers, makes you realise you have a ‘type’ when you had previously thought yourself more open-minded.
For example, after a couple of days’ surfing Borrow My Doggy, I realised that I wanted to borrow a dog that was not too big, yet not so small that I worried about stepping on it; was not called Poppy; had a good fringe; was comfortable with walking distances of 12 miles and over once a week; got on well with cats; looked as much as possible like a member of a heavy rock band c1971.My girlfriend is the kind of person who will see a stranger’s rottweiler and run straight up to it and kiss it on the cheek like it’s a favourite uncle, but I’m much more wary around big dogs.This is probably partly a result of a childhood of walks with my father, who, any time we saw a canine bigger than a badger, would shout, ‘Watch out for that: it will have your face off!Getting to know each other is of the pupmost importance.’ A phrase such as ‘of the pupmost importance’ is typical of the way people at BorrowMy Doggy speak.Each of them begins their emails with ‘High paws’, instead of hello, and signs off with ‘Woofs and tail-wags’.An opening between a potential borrower and an owner is known as a ‘welcome woof’.