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Student Charlotte with her borrowed dog, Beezus, on an autumnal day at the park

Missing your dog as a student?

2 April 2024

For students across the country, September is a fresh start and a new academic year. It signals new opportunities and, for freshers, a total change of city, home and life.

As well as family members and friends, many of you may be leaving beloved pets behind. Well, we have the perfect solution!

BorrowMyDoggy offers the chance to spend time with a dog either on an ad-hoc or more regular basis and build a lasting relationship with the dog and their owners. You could be helping out owners struggling to find care, getting outdoors in your new city and socialising with other dog walkers at the park.

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In addition, there are a wealth of benefits for students to spending time with a dog including decreasing stress, increasing fitness and helping your mental health.*

An illustration that reads: 79% felt reduced feelings of loneliness and/or isolation by borrowing a dog, 86% of borrowers got more exercise when spending time with a dog, 96% said their mood improves when spending time with a dog, 96% found spending time with a dog reduces their stress levels

How to borrow a dog as a student

It’s really simple to get started. You’ll need to create an account, fill out some information about yourself and select how much availability you have across the week.

Once you’ve completed this you will be able to search the dogs in your area. Check out our tips for creating the perfect borrower profile.

When you find some potential dogs to borrow you will then need to subscribe to Premium before you can reach out to their owners.

All Premium members go through our verification checks and gain access to our safety features, including insurance and a 24/7 vet line.

A Premium borrower membership is just £12.99 a year.

Sign up now

Meeting your first borrowed dog

After messaging a dog owner and getting to know their dog and what they’re looking for, you will be ready to meet the dog for the first time. We’ve shared some tips for preparing for your first meet and greet, which we call the ‘Welcome Woof’.

As a student, there are a few extra things you may need to consider:

Discuss your availability for the year. Will you be going home during the holidays or will you be too busy during exam periods to keep up a consistent availability and prefer an ad-hoc arrangement?

Being upfront about what you are looking for and what you can commit to will help both you and the dog owner decide if you’re the right fit.

If you are in student accommodation or renting privately, make sure you know the rules on having pets in your home if you would like to offer to have the dog come to stay.

We’d also suggest you check with your housemates that it is OK, some may have pet allergies or don’t like dogs (hard to believe, we know!)

If you are planning to bring friends along when you spend time with the dog please let the owner know.

Only the account holder should handle and take care of the dog, otherwise, you will not be covered by insurance.

You can take a look at our etiquette guide here for extra guidance and safety advice.

Student stories

Borrower Grace from the University of Sheffield

Student Grace with her borrowed dog, Blackie the Husky pausing on a walk for a selfie together

I have a dog back at home, away from university, and borrowing a dog was a chance to fill the dog-sized hole in my life until I had a chance to go back home.

"Being at university can often feel lonely and isolating and finding time to spend with friends can prove challenging when you all have different timetables and commitments.

Being able to spend some of my free time with a dog hasn’t just made me more active but it has provided me with company and a furry friend when I needed one.

Borrowing a dog got me out and about while I was in the middle of my dissertation. It made me feel a lot less stressed and helped me focus on non-academic subjects which provided a break from the pressure of essay writing and exams.

It also allowed me to feel proud that I was providing a dog with extra exercise and stimulation which is very rewarding.

Spending time with a dog at university is a helpful way to prevent you from holing up in your room and binge-watching Netflix, which exacerbates feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Being able to plan my days around walking a dog or spending time with a dog really helped me to feel more productive and less alone."

Borrower Amelia from the University of Brighton

Student Amelia with her borrowed dog, Lola, the Dachshund at a dog friendly pub in the outdoors seating area

Moving from the countryside to a big city for university was an exciting but overwhelming experience. Despite meeting so many new people, it was hard to not feel isolated without the home comforts I had become so dependent on.

"I was missing my family and friends, and especially my dog who, no matter how many times we tried, could never seem to understand the concept of Facetime.

I missed having a reason to get outside for walks and quickly realised how important this was for supporting my mental health. Living in a block of flats made it far too easy to go days without being outdoors, let alone going for walks or touching grass.

All of these changes at once can be hard to navigate alongside university and are difficult to discuss when everyone seems to be having the time of their lives going out clubbing and sleeping through most of the daylight.

As time passed and everyone settled into more of a routine, my friends and I tried to make the most of our days off by planning picnics in the park and days at the beach. I was starting to feel more like myself but our occasional visits from the neighbour’s cat reminded me of how much I missed my pets at home.

After months of going out of my way to pet every dog I could find in public, I saw a video online of a group of students who were borrowing someone else’s dog for walks and days out. That’s when I signed up for BorrowMyDoggy. Scrolling through the app and chatting with owners about their pets was so fun and I quickly found a few matches who lived nearby.

We now have a few regular visitors at our house, including Lola the sausage dog who loves coming for a cuddle on the sofa and Kimmi the French Bulldog who stays with us overnight. These dogs have become a key part of our university experience and have temporarily filled the paw-shaped hole in my life.

If anyone can relate to these feelings of loneliness and dog-deprival, I cannot recommend BorrowMyDoggy enough. It truly has enriched my time at university and helped me feel like me again."

BorrowMyDoggy x Better Health - Every Mind Matters

Did you know research has shown that young people aged 16 to 24 are one of the most at-risk groups for experiencing loneliness? This year we’re supporting the Loneliness campaign, as part of the Better Health - Every Mind Matters campaign.

We hear so many amazing stories from our student members about how borrowing a dog has helped alleviate feelings of loneliness and helped them feel more connected to their community.

If you’d like to find more tips on dealing with loneliness please visit the Better Health - Every Mind Matters webpage.

Borrower Charlotte from the University of Bristol

Student Charlotte joined BorrowMyDoggy whilst at university in Bristol and started borrowing Beezus, the Bernese Mountain Dog. After finishing her course, she moved to continue her veterinary training in London, where Beezus and her owner, Annie, had also moved! Watch their story:

We always love hearing stories from our community tag us on social media @borrowmydoggy.

BorrowMyDoggy x Universities in the UK

BorrowMyDoggy has been working with some Student Unions across the country to provide student memberships. If your university isn’t yet involved, you can get in touch and find out more here.

The universities that are already involved have found that BorrowMyDoggy is a helpful tool to look after the health and well-being of their students.

BorrowMyDoggy for students

*In-house survey March 2022

Know someone who'd like this?

Hey there!

Want to hear about a different kind of dog care that both you and your dog will love?

Or perhaps you're a dog lover who can't have one of your own right now?

We have the pawfect solution: BorrowMyDoggy!

How it works
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Want to borrow a dog in Exeter?

Want to borrow a dog in Exeter?

Connect with a local dog owner and start spending time with a pooch for walks and playdates in Exeter.

Want to borrow a dog in Belfast?

Want to borrow a dog in Belfast?

Connect with a local dog owner and start spending time with a pooch for walks and playdates in Belfast.

Want to borrow a dog in Ireland?

Want to borrow a dog in Ireland?

Connect with a local dog owner and start spending time with a pooch for walks and playdates in Ireland.

Want to borrow a dog in York?

Want to borrow a dog in York?

Connect with a local dog owner and start spending time with a pooch for walks and playdates in York.