My husband Dave and I laughed as we watched our dogs run along the beach,…
My husband Dave and I laughed as we watched our dogs run along the beach, capturing the attention of everyone who’d come for a swim.
Our schnoodle, Snout, and border terrier, Miss Muppet, often turned heads when we took them out, and it seemed like today was no exception.
“Can I pat them?” one woman asked us.
Her husband wanted to pat them, too, and as we got talking, something became abundantly clear.
“You guys are obviously animal lovers,” Dave said. “What pet do you have?”
It was a simple enough question, but the woman was suddenly forlorn.
“None,” she sighed. “We can’t have pets because of our demanding jobs.”
My heart broke for them.
Along with our two dogs, Dave and I also had a cat, Elfie and a pony. They were the light of our lives.
I couldn’t imagine a home without at least one furry, four-legged friend.
The more people Dave and I met, the more we realised there were many others who longed to have a pet but, for a variety of different reasons, simply couldn’t do so.
“Imagine if there was a service to share pets with people,” Dave said.
There wasn’t anything like it in the country, so we decided to set one up.
It was a big change from our day jobs. Dave was an architect and I was a primary school teacher, but we were passionate enough about our idea to take the plunge.
In 2018 we launched Share My Pet, connecting animal lovers to owners, allowing people without pets the chance to bond with and care for one of their choice.
To advertise, Dave and I bundled our pets in the car and drove around the whole of NZ’s South Island hosting ‘first doggie dates’ to introduce people to our fun concept.
Not long after, we were approached by a couple who wanted to test run spending time with a dog before committing to their very own fur baby.
For the next year, we let them share Miss Muppet.
They took her for beach walks and sometimes she even stayed the night.
“We’re ready for our own dog now,” they told us after 12 months of happiness.
Watching them bring Pipi, a border terrier, into their lives gave us such great satisfaction.
Another time, an elderly lady got in touch.
“I had to put my dog to sleep a few months ago,” she told us. “Life hasn’t been the same since.”
Through our services, she was introduced to a rescue dog named Poppy, whose owner worked 12-hour shifts and didn’t want her to be alone so much.
The lady took Poppy on short walks, fed her and kept her company.
They really were a perfect match!
Since starting Share My Pet we’ve played matchmaker for hundreds of Kiwis wanting to experience the joy of a pet.
Animals really do change people’s lives for the better, and it’s such a great feeling knowing we’re bringing smiles to the faces of both pet and person.