The latest invention of the sharing economy is probably the cutest so far. Especially if you love dogs.
A new app lets you “borrow” a dog — which is great for those animal lovers who can’t quite make the commitment to pet ownership.
You might work odd hours, travel too often, live in a small space or not be able to afford the financial responsibility of caring for a pet.
Bark’N’Borrow offers the solution.
How Bark’N’Borrow Works
The new app connects “dog owners with dog-loving borrowers” for free.
“This is the next best thing between not owning a dog and committing to one,” Bark’N’Borrow CEO and Founder Liam Berkeley told Fox 5 New York.
Dog owners create profiles for their pets and meet with potential borrowers to see if you all get along.
If all goes well, you make arrangements with owners to hang out with their pooches for a few hours. Many pet parents and borrowers stay in touch and make regular puppy dates.
So you get to enjoy the best of having a dog — without the responsibility of actual pet ownership!
In a video interview, Berkeley assures users that everyone is individually vetted. The company collects residential info, billing info, address and more to ensure the pups’ safety and give owners and borrowers peace of mind.
Free Pet Sitting
For pet owners, Bark’N’Borrow could be a smart, free alternative to a professional dog walker or pet sitter if you don’t have friends or family available nearby to walk your dog when you’re at work.
Or maybe you’re new to a city and want to connect with other pet owners or dog lovers.
While the app does offer a way to find professional services, the free “social” connections set it apart. Find people who want to hang out with your dog simply because they love dogs!
And, if you’re a dog lover in search of some extra income, this could help you kickstart a canine-centric side hustle.
“I originally downloaded this app to ‘borrow’ dogs to get my puppy fix,” said one reviewer, “as I can’t adopt one of my own at the moment, and it ended up helping me launch a little dog-walking side business!”
The app is free to download and free to use… for now.
Starting next month, it will introduce a paid subscription service, starting at $4.99 a month to borrow dogs, according to Fox 5 New York.
Is Bark’N’Borrow Available in Your Area?
The downside to a lot of sharing economy apps is a lack of availability outside of major cities, but this one is growing fast everywhere.
While the largest contingent — 20% — of users is in the New York Area, Bark’N’Borrow is available nationwide, with 50,000 users and growing. So you should be able to find fellow dog lovers near you!
Your Turn: Would you use an app to borrow a dog for the day?
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).