Flexpetz is a service which provides members with access to a variety of dogs without the responsibility of full-time ownership. Flexpetz participants are allowed to borrow and return dogs like library books - except it's far from free.
Here's how it works. After signing up for a Flexpetz membership, you must meet with a trainer for a mandatory, in-home introductory session. After that, you will be given access to the online reservation system. Then it's time to choose your canine date and book a time to rendezvous. Your date can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. You can either pick up your temp-pet or have it delivered on the Flexpetz shuttle. According to the website,"You can take out the same dog time after time, or choose to meet different doggy friends on different days."
The orientation session will run you $150. There is a monthly membership fee of $99.95 plus $45 a day with a four-day monthly minimum. The fee for shuttle service can vary but is usually $25 one-way. Also, there is a $99 annual administration fee but, at this point, who's counting anymore.
Apparently, I've been approaching this dog ownership thing from the wrong angle. Instead of paying our wonderful dog walker to come and take Shadow to doggy playgroup, I could be on the collecting end of things, selling her escort services. All I have to do is find some lonely soul with deep pockets who's itching for a little canine companionship. Of course Shadow has a few quirks - chasing motorcycles, trying to bite the rear tires of mail trucks and SUVs, attacking basset hounds for no apparent reason - but, hey, that just makes your doggy date that much more exciting.