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Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM

Pets for Rent

By November 16, 2012

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Pug / D'oh Boy on Flickr 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

There's much more to this story. Check out the Hannah web site and Frequently Asked Questions. The Hannah FAQ is 18 pages long, with 82 questions discussed.

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?

Related:

'Photo: Pug / D'oh Boy on Flickr


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Comments

November 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm
(1) Joyce says:

Worst idea I have ever heard. Pets need stability and routine, just like children. If the pets dont have behavioral problems before they enter this system, they certainly will afterwards. This borders on animal abuse in my opinion. Not surprising that the person who corporatized substandard veterinary care came up with this lame idea.

November 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm
(2) paula says:

Can’t believe that this will take off. And don’t think it will especially here in Oklahoma. Too rural of a culture and traditional. Maybe somewhere like New York or something where people have pets as status symbols and they are more disposable possibly. More apt to work in a situation where the people are not animal oriented. It is such a cold and money driven idea. Not good. Yeah, had to be dreamed up by someone who franchised vet medicine.

November 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm
(3) Maddy says:

80% of the dogs Hannah the Pet Society places are designer puppies bred for it by back yard breeders, as stated on the record by top HPS management only four weeks ago. Because of the public outcry, the word “breeders” is now being substituted with “families”.

Find out for yourself when you visit HPS Pet Stores. When asked about the source of the puppies for sale, sales people uniformly state that the pup is a “rescue” but pretend not to know the name or location of the rescue. The standard line is, “Management does not tell us.”

BUYER BEWARE If you choose to buy an HPS pup, DEMAND to know the source and read the fine print of the leasing contract. If they are willing to misrepresent the source of your pet, they are willing to misrepresent almost anything to make a buck!

November 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm
(4) Olivia says:

Maddy is right. Nearly 100% of the puppies are from breeders. Be prepared to hear a tragic story about your puppies origin, because they will, without any hesitation, LIE TO YOUR FACE. These babies are not well cared for before they are “rented” out to you and the entire place is a business disaster. These people aren’t animal lovers, they’re strictly business people.
Don’t waste your time or your money and head to the nearest shelter to find your furry family member…Let this place go out of business already!

November 18, 2012 at 11:42 am
(5) Eric Tomasello says:

This is for people who don’t like responsibility, just to bad this is so bad for the dogs involved. Its an operation that needs to be shut down.

November 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm
(6) MaryBeth says:

What an awful idea !!! talk about creating uncertainty ,insecurity-how do you make sure those who take the pets are sane and safe-Yuck !!!

November 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm
(7) demonjo says:

Hilarious! 80% of the pets come from Breeders, almost 100% come from breeders, and they are all just business people, well if the cost from a breeder is several hundred dollars per pet from a breeder or free from a shelter, not only are they business people they are the stupidest business people on the planet. And yet they did build the largest pet health care company in the world, from scratch. And changed the quality level of pet care for the planet. In 1992 how many pets were given pain meds? Not many, but everyone had to if they were to compete with Banfield. How many monitored oxygen levels during surgery?
Of course they gets pets from shelters but the screen them for health and sanity before they go to their families. Some pets have had horrible things done to them which would drive any of us insane, and they would never work in your home. Hannah will try to treat them and if that does not work get you another pet before you ever see a pet. SO THAT THE BOND WORKS!
Change is hard but lets give them a chance.

November 23, 2012 at 10:44 am
(8) Virginia says:

Doesn’t sound like a good idea for the pet. It’s the same as being passed around with no permanent home, pets are like children, they need love and security. The more I think about it, the less I like the idea.

February 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm
(9) Joni says:

Well, it seems that most of the commentators on this page are NOT members. I am and have been for a year. I pay $69 per month and I receive all of my vet care (vaccinations, spaying, any emergency that might arise, medicine, flea/tick prevention, dental cleaning, etc.), my dog’s food delivered to my door, AND training! The fee that I pay is not a “rental fee” it is a fee for the services I get. Yes, on paper, Hannah owns my pet. This is a price reduction measure and not some nefarious plot to rule the animal kingdom. Come on folks, common sense please! If I stop paying and I owe Hannah money, are they going to take my pet? no! how do I know? It’s in the contract I signed! if I completely fail to pay, my pet’s ownership is transferred back into my name, I lose my services and I get sent to collections. But this won’t happen because I am benefiting from one of the most amazing pet care plans I can imagine! Hannah is awesome!

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