Do you really want a cat, dog, guinea pig, or maybe a rabbit, but not sure if everything will work out? If the Hannah the Pet Society idea takes off, you may have a chance to rent a pet at a mall store near you.
Why rent? All food and medical costs are included in the monthly fee, and, if it doesn't work out, you can return the pet. Sounds simple, but there is more to this idea.
Vet Starts Rent-A-Pet Society
Oregon veterinarian Scott Campbell, founder of Banfield Pet Hospitals, started Hannah the Pet Society "rental stores" in 2010. The society is named after Campbell's mother Hannah, a nurse. Campbell sold Banfield in 2007, and is busy with several business ventures, according to the the Willamette Week.
Will Renting A Pet Work?
I can see some benefits of this plan. For people who are not sure if a particular pet is right for their family or lifestyle, for elderly who love having a pet but worry about the pet outliving them, and for people who face a health or financial crisis.
Hannah also has several answers in their Frequently Asked Questions about preventing unnecessary euthanasias and placing animals from shelters and rescue groups, not puppy mills. Hannah supports life-long placements and works with families and pets to ensure the best fit, and most permanent match.
On the other hand, decisions about medical treatments or end-of-life issues for the pets may prove to be stressful when opinions differ, since these are often the most stressful times in non-rented pet health situations.
According to the Hannah FAQ (PDF):
Item #29: "Another reason Pets may come back to Hannah is when the Pet has a medical or behavioral problem. In this instance, we will do our best to fix or at least ameliorate the problem and find a new placement for the Pet. If we cannot, the Pet will be euthanized after all other suitable alternatives are exhausted."
As the legal owner of the pet, Hannah is ultimately in charge of determining what "suitable alternatives" are. What if the pet renters disagree?
More from the Hannah FAQ:
Item #68: "A human may be able to tolerate being in bed for two years with tubes going in and out of their body and heavily sedated. Pets - well, they don't do that well on that kind of therapy and it is not a good quality of life either for them or their Pet Parent family. However, if that kind of therapy (extensive IVs, etc.) is likely only for a few days or a week or so, and the Pet is likely to get back to a decent quality of life and return home, then we are likely to recommend treatment - if that's okay with the Pet Parent - and maybe even if it's not. In the unlikely event that the Pet's doctor, in their best medical opinion, has determined that the Pet has only a short time to live and the Pet Parent wants to "own" the Pet during its end of life - even if that is to seek other medical opinions or therapies - then Hannah the Pet Society will gift the Pet to the Pet Parent and waive the agreed upon Purchase Price; however, this is a non-reversible decision."
"Selling" Your Pet to Hannah to Rent
Some people elect to offer their pet for rent in Hannah's program. Why? One reason is to benefit from the "Total Lifetime Care" program and all food costs in exchange for a flat monthly rental fee.
This sounds like an attractive way to manage and budget pet care and food costs. It is important to remember though, the pet no longer is yours and you are no longer in charge of decision-making. The reason for this, according to Hannah, is that they do not want to be an insurance company.
From the Hannah FAQ:
Item #24: "Also, by owning the Pet and therefore providing whatever care the Pet needs ourselves, we avoid being an insurance provider. This reduces the cost of care by well over 50 percent."
And... wonder if you and your pet are not a match made in heaven after all?
From the Hannah FAQ:
Item #32: "If Hannah determines that your Pet is eligible to become a Hannah Pet and you want to move forward, you will then have to legally sell it to Hannah (for a price both you and Hannah agree to) and go through the matching process (which includes paying a Matching Fee). If you are not a good match for your former Pet, Hannah's Lifetime Matching Program will identify that fact and you won't be matched to it (provided you are honest on the computerized tool). If the Pet is not found to be a good match for you, you will be matched with one that is - and you can accept that Pet and your former Pet will also be matched with a different Hannah Pet Parent."
Lots to Consider
What Do You Think?
Would you rent a pet? Why or why not? Is renting pets the way of the future, or doomed for disaster?
'Photo: Pug / D'oh Boy on Flickr