so what about dog sharing?

Do you share well with others? Books? Food? Your dog? When I heard about dog sharing on the news several months ago, I was surprised and had mixed feelings about it. I didn't completely understand why a person would want to share their dog, so I checked it out.

citydogshare.orgWeb sites such as City Dog Share of California are popping up for reasons of convenience, economics, and philanthropy. So what's this all about? At it's foundation, it is a pet sitting co-op. Owners seeking someone to watch their dog are paired with strangers who are looking to spend time with a dog. It's touted as a great way for people to test out a breed before taking the plunge. City Dog Share says:

People with or without dogs are encouraged to join. If you are looking to foster or adopt a dog, but still not sure which type of dog is right for you, maybe meeting up with someone and sharing their dog can help. They will help guide you with all the tips and tricks that are best for their dog. And maybe that can help you find a dog that's right for you.

Post a picture of your dog when you have a dog that needs to be watched. Include relevant details like the dates away, care needed, etc. Members can comment on the thread or send you a private message in response–it's that easy!

For many reasons, this seems like an awesome idea. In these troubled economic times, I'm all for helping each other out. In fact, I would have six inch gray roots, if it wasn't for the fact that I trade services with my hair dresser. She colors and cuts my hair, then I credit her pet sitting account with the value of the service. It works out great for both of us.

To think that strangers with complimentary objectives could be paired in the name of animal welfare is a pretty cool idea, however, I would be nervous about leaving my dog in the care of a stranger with no professional experience. It's not like trading landscaping services for housekeeping...this is a deeply loved member of the family! But, still...I love the concept and hope it can work. One person receives the dog care they need for free and the other gets to learn–before adopting or purchasing–what breed of dog might or might not work for them. How wonderful.

The City Dog Share Web site also includes sponsored services such as nonprofit foster and adoption organizations and professional services and currently have open groups in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles area, Humboldt County, Greater Portland, and Seattle Metro. They also facilitate adoptions and local canine social groups.

Under what circumstances would you be willing to share your dog?