Japanese Doglovers Rent Dogs



We have discussed dog rental here before. While there are apparent problems for dogs with being rented out, I can understand people who rent them.

Years ago I lived in California in areas where I couldn’t afford to have a dog (San Francisco, Monterey and LA). While I had a lot of good friends and still think these are lovely areas with many good experiences and people, I was often miserable. Why? Because I had lived with dogs most of my life and didn’t realize how much they meant to me until I couldn’t live with them. I might very well have rented a dog too.

So when it came time to decide where I wanted to live, I chose an area where it is relatively easy to have dogs. I’m lucky in that I have that choice. But what about people who live in extremely expensive areas and can’t arrange to have dogs in their homes? Maybe they feel this is the best they can do for the time.

Thanks to the Telegraph.co.uk for this article.

A dog is just for the afternoon
By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo

For Miss Soejima, saying goodbye to dogs has become a regular refrain. For the past four months, she has been renting a pet dog several times a week, for periods ranging from one hour to two days.

Pet rental in Japan is booming. The number of companies dedicated to renting out pets in Tokyo alone has risen from 17 in 2000 to 134 today.

Japan’s passion for its 23 million cats and dogs has long been reflected in an imaginative array of pet pampering facilities, from canine acupuncture to aromatherapy massage. But a shortage of space and apartment regulations banning animals are fuelling the demand for part-time pets.

From dogs, cats and rabbits to birds, ferrets and turtles, an eclectic array of domestic animals are currently available to rent in Japan for periods ranging one hour to a week.

And with costs as low as 1,500 yen (6.30) an hour to rent a dog – the most popular rental animal – the practice is as accessible as it is popular.

Janet Village in Tokyo boasts 48 carefully coiffed dogs for rent. A comprehensive canine menu is displayed at the front of the shop, displaying photographs of each animal and listing each animal’s vital statistics, including age and personality traits.

There is Mimi, a two-year-old Italian Great Hound, who has a “graceful walk” and enjoys running around; or Yuki, the Chihuahua, who loves people but “gets tired on long walks”.

As many as 60 people rent dogs over the weekend, with another 20 rentals between Monday and Friday, according Manabu Araki, the shop owner.

“We match the personality of the dog with the person renting,” he said.

“There are people who cannot have pets in their apartments, young families trying out dogs before buying and senior people who are a bit lonely. Some come every day.

“I started with a pet shop but there is much more demand for rental.”

It was while cycling with her boyfriend last June that Miss Soejima, 31, a student, first caught sight of the Janet Village pet rental sign and they were soon walking their first rental dog.

“I’ve rented dogs more than 40 times since then, normally a couple of times a week, sometimes two or three at the same time,” said Miss Soejima.

“I had cats when I was younger but I’d always wanted a dog and in our apartment block, we’re not allowed to keep them so renting is perfect.”

Cuddling her favourite, Rolo the Labrador, she added: “We go for walks and play in the park. I also rent dogs with friends and we all go out together.”

Another fan of pet rentals is James Hart, a 30-year-old British IT consultant based in Tokyo with Miyako, his Japanese wife, and Kai, their three-year-old son.

“Kai loves animals but we don’t want the hassle of having a full-time pet,” he said. “For us, it means we can enjoy a pet without having to deal with things like cleaning, feeding or even dying.”

At the Tokyo store Zoo Japan, more than 300 dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, tortoises and even squirrels – which are popular pets in Japan – are available to rent or buy. Mayumi Kitamura, the rental manager, said: “People in Japan work very hard and renting a pet can make them feel less lonely.”

“Ferrets are popular with people who want to try them out before buying. One man even rented a squirrel monkey for one day because he loved the animals but could not afford to buy one.”

Dr Julia Berryman, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Leicester, said: “People’s lives are busier, more women are in paid work, people are taking more holidays, families are smaller and there are more single people.”

“All these may make pet ownership more desirable whilst also causing a problem if people are not around at home for large parts of the day.”

The practice, however, is not without its critics. The lack of routine and endless round of new owners would invariably cause the animals stress, according to animal welfare campaigners.

Follow this link to read the rest of the article.

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