Kathryn Lindsay
Updated Jun 13, 2016 @ 10:59 am
Credit: Shutterstock

“Must love dogs” is pretty much a requirement for every person I meet, mostly because that could mean they own a dog, which is something I’m just not able to do in this current stage of my life. That’s exactly why I’m in awe of the Australia-based app Dogshare: It matches busy dog-owners with willing dog-lovers, so the owners get peace of mind that their pup is getting the care it needs while they’re away, and lovers get the opportunity to play with dogs even though they can’t commit to owning one.

Jess Thomas, the creator of the Dogshare website, was inspired by her own hectic life. “I work full time,” she told ABC Australia in an interview on Sunday. “I’ve got two kids under five and a German short-haired pointer that just requires an enormous amount of exercise and attention.”

She wasn’t alone. In the past year, 3,500 Australians have signed up for the site where, originally, Jess matched busy dog owners with less busy dog owners. “Early on we had some feedback that people actually just want to choose their own matches — read their bio and think, ‘Yep that one’s for me,'” she said. That’s when dog owners starting picking and choosing themselves.

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Rather quickly, however, non-dog owners wanted to join in. “People write to me and say … ‘I absolutely love dogs, but I’m now working full-time hours where I know I couldn’t give a dog everything it needs, and I would just love more than anything to take a dog for a walk once a week,'” Jess explained.

These non-dog owners are referred to as “borrowers,” and they are available simply for walking dogs, keeping them company, taking them to vet appointments, or even longer-term pet-sitting while owners are on vacation.

If you’re not in Australia, don’t worry. Dogshare isn’t the only app of its kind. Sites like BorrowMyDoggy and Bark’N’Borrow run similar operations, and might have happy puppies waiting just for you!