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« Research Points to Single Origin for Humans | Main | Videos on Lee Strobel's Site »

August 01, 2007


Hi Amy, perhaps these folks are being realistic about their circumstances and/or abilities. This seems better to me than those people who buy a pet and then neglect it or take it to the pound (usually a death sentence) when it becomes inconvenient.

Unfortunately we have allowed our culture to be structured with an insufficient amount of leisure time (recall the woman at the townhall with three jobs) for too many of us.

Hi Amy, Alan,
I have to side with Alan on this one; ever go to a stable and rent a horse for an hour or a day?
I know what you're getting Amy, but saying there is something 'wrong' about renting a dog for a day or hour is overreaching. It would be an excelent way for a person to decide if he or she should own a dog.

Sorry Amy, "getting at". I hope you're not getting a cold or something. No special revelation on my part.

I see nothing wrong with it. Free market capitalism at its finest; find a need and fill it; Also, some people can prove to their children what it takes to take care of an animal.

>>“It's hard not to see this as a symptom of a culture that wants benefits without cost--that seeks to find the perfect accessories that will integrate easily into (and out of) life, providing easy pleasure.”

I see people wanting benefits without cost all the time; but this isn’t inherently bad. We do it everyday; in business, in personal finances, even in church administration. People will always look to avoid costs and increase enjoyment. We want things easier, better, and more affordable.

This is what drives innovation; new business; and the engine that makes America great.

‘Easy’ and ‘pleasure’ aren’t dirty words.

>>I know what you're getting Amy, but saying there is something 'wrong' about renting a dog for a day or hour is overreaching.

Well, just to be clear, I'm not using the word to mean it's morally wrong, I'm just saying it seems "off"--like it's not the way it should be.

>>I have to side with Alan on this one; ever go to a stable and rent a horse for an hour or a day?

A horse seems's not being rented for companionship.

>>‘Easy’ and ‘pleasure’ aren’t dirty words.

I'm really just trying to express the idea that easy pleasure doesn't yield the deep satisfaction that comes when we sweat and sacrifice for someone or something. I think we often settle for cheap pleasures and miss out on the deeper ones because we're more concerned with comfort in our culture than we should be. We're becoming less and less willing to sacrifice. So we see, for example, many people aborting their Down Syndrome babies. Even though I've heard many people who have Down Syndrome children say how much joy they bring to their lives and others' lives, people don't want to face the sacrifice it would take to care for them. We are so pampered in our culture, we've become soft, and our softness can cause us to lose out on greater joy. And honestly, I'm as guilty of avoiding sacrifice as the next person, so I'm admonishing myself, as well.

Here's a great example from my own life: My roommate raises guide dog puppies, and I always joked about the last puppy that I got to enjoy all the benefits with none of the cost. I didn't have to take him out early in the morning, or walk him, or feed him, or brush him, or take him to the vet. No! I just got to pet him and enjoy him. But you know what? After he went in to the Guide Dog School for several months of training, when we got to see him one last time before he went to live with his new person, he was wild about seeing my roommate, but frankly, he wasn't that interested in me. I realized at that moment that my conscious decision not to put effort into him--to take the easy road--had a cost. The cost was that our relationship really wasn't deep and didn't mean much, in the end.

I don't think we realize that we make decisions like this one all the time in our lives, and we're missing out--me included!

Dear Amy, I know exactly what you are talking about. We live in an "instant gratification" culture and one, where we don't have to "count the cost" for anything. Want a new wife? Just divorce the old one. Want something you can't afford? Pull out that plastic and charge it. Want sex without marriage? Go ahead. If contraception fails, there is always abortion. Want anything at all? Don't worry about the consequences. Just do it! Overreaching? Not really, we have been going down this slippery slope for a long time. The rent-a-dog is just another symptom of this culture.

Hi Amy,
You did start a debate, so even if the rent-a-dog venue isn't the best fit, your main point about relationships is well taken.

A horse used for riding, unless one needs it for work, is a companion animal. Dogs were created mostly as work animals and it seems that the rent a dog is continuing this tradition. Amy, you may be looking at this from a modern, dog as a personal gratification sort of thing (nothing wrong with that) while dog has a job is the more normal situation.

There are other interesting companion animals:

(copy to here to link)

Dr. Lyn,

If this is the bottom of the slippery slope then we are in great shape. I understand your sentiments but you’re comparing apples and oranges. You listed immoral things and summed it up by saying:

>>“The rent-a-dog is just another symptom of this culture.”

The same could be said of:

Ski-lifts, working toilets, cell phones, forklifts, etc. After all, the fact that I can ride all the way up to the peak of a mountain and ski down is the very essence of ‘instant gratification.’ Would I appreciate the fun ski down more if I had hiked up; probably, but I’d still pass on the hike.

I don’t see this as a symptom of anything except that the free market is working.

Gosh Kevin, we actually agree on something - have to go mail Satan an overcoat.

Hi Amy,
I know what you are saying, but I have different concerns. Yes, it's true that renting a dog is not like owning a dog, but I don't see anything inherently wrong with that. Sharing your life with an animal is rewarding and character-building and entails creating a real relationship - all very positive. But those aren't the only benefits, and I don't think that other benefits should necessarily be eschewed because one doesn't want to or can't commit to the other aspects of the relationship.
By analogy, we can also learn and grow by making our own food but many of eat at restaurants. There is much benefit to owning a car, repairing it yourself, and taking care of it, but many people take a bus, cab or rent-a-car. There is nothing like a great and intimate friendship, but that doesn't mean we can't have more casual acquaintances with whom to socialize. I'd like to meet a great lady and get married, but I'm not going to quit dating or dump all of my friends because I'm not ready or haven't met the right person.

My real concern is not what this symptom says about people (I actually think (hope) it reflects quite well on them), but I worry about the animals.
How are the renters screened? Many times I see dog-owners and think that somebody should be in charge of taking their dogs away from them because they don't know how to or choose not to properly care for them. Do these renters know how?

And what is the situation like for the animal when it is not being rented out? Are they socializing and enjoying life, or are they merely kenneled products to be taken off the shelf when needed?
Are they being rented out to go run in the park or to be locked in a car in the sweltering heat? Are they going to chase sticks and play with children or be carried around in a designer purse from club to club?

Are they rescued animals for whom this is an improved life, or even a second life, or this going to create a market for breeding/buying/trading in dogs for this exclusive purpose? If they are receiving a great deal of love, adoration and attention from their renters, and are being properly cared for by professionals who don't have to worry about such things as vet bills and don't have to leave them locked in an apartment day in and day out when they go to work, then I think this might be a great situation.
If they are being treated like rent-a-wrecks which are driven hard, poorly cared for and dumped at auction when they've prematurely outlived their usefulness, then shame once again on us.

I'm a bit doubled-minded on this. In addition to the pleasure-without-full-responsibility issue you touched on, I feel sorry for the dogs. Instead of having a permanent home, permanent love, they are just used for the gratification they can give the owners.

On the other hand, these dogs are at least getting some love and attention. I would guess that's more than they'd get in a shelter, or even in a home if they are just left alone all the time.

I had not heard of this type of arrangement before. I wonder how it will all work out in the long run, for the people as well as the animals.

Have not read ALL entries, so I'm not sure if this ground has been touched upon.

My children love dogs but we can't have one because of my oldest son's allergies. However, if he spends an afternoon, or even a day, with a dog his symptoms are managable and he will gladly trade a day or two of stuffy nose and wheezing for some time with a dog that he can call his "own." This actually seems like an ideal solution for me and my family. And, pet allergies are common enough that it seems to me this company will succeed just on those who can't own, but would still like the companionship of a friendly dog. ANy thoughts?

Yes; Mike I think that's great.

Can we get this blog off of animals already? After Melinda's kitty, you think we'd learned. My question is always: What are we substituting companionship with pets for? Is it because we've lost the ability to have true philharmonic intimacy with each other?

I can see your point, Amy. One advantage I thought of, however, is that it would be ideal for someone thinking of purchasing a certain breed of dog, but who is unsure about whether or not that breed would be a good fit for their own family/situation.

I am with Amy. This to me is a simple matter of people exploiting animals for mere self pleasure, with the end being I want something cute and cuddly for a day. This is not stewardship - its narcissism with fur. But hey, who are you or I Amy to suggest that dominion f the earth and animals is something that gives God pleasure!

No doubt, the same people that rent dogs pay the carbon footprint indulgence.

Ahhh, human depravity!

Here people are paying to have a dog short-term, but we have a heckuva time finding someone to watch our pooch for us when we go on a short term trip or vacation. Must be Ohio!

I see your point, but I'm not as concerned as if they had "kid rentals." I can rent out horses to go on a horse ride, and it also isn't the same as owning/caring/feeding/housing it myself, but it isn't remotely practical for me to do so. Are you also troubled by horse rentals? (I'm not trying to be snide, I'm just curious.)

We have owned dogs in the past, and it was wonderfully fulfilling, and there is a different kind of joy one would get from having the animal be part of the family (through thick and thin, as you put it), than to just take some disconnected dog out for a walk. I'm not sure it's a service I would use, but I'm not troubled by its existence.

Next great idea: "Rent-a-kid - find out if children suit your personal family or situation without the commitment!"

Someone will make a buck out of it someday...

Go the American Dream!

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