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A blonde woman on a sofa cuddling a large black dog

Katie, Dixie and Peppa

Dog-lovers Katie and her partner joined BorrowMyDoggy to familiarise themselves with dog ownership. They matched with not one, but two dogs who they regularly look after and take for walks in their spare time. As Katie says, “borrowing dogs has changed my life and taught me skills that will make me a responsible dog owner.”

The owners of Katie’s borrowed dogs, Dixie and Peppa, both joined BorrowMyDoggy to find occasional care for their dogs during weekends or when they have work commitments and have both found peace of mind when leaving their dogs in the trusted hands of Katie and her partner.

How has BorrowMyDoggy made a difference in your life?

BorrowMyDoggy has totally changed my life. Whenever I get a spare moment now I want to walk with the dog. It gives me and my partner something other than work to talk about when we go out walking and when the dogs are with us we enjoy ourselves so much. I’ve realised how amazing having a dog is. Even if I do get my own dog, I will want to continue to walk Dixie and Peppa as I have a nice relationship with them and their owners, Sophie and Lydia.

Why did you sign up to BorrowMyDoggy?

I really want a dog, but I’m not allowed one in my current flat and I’m also not in a position to get a dog in terms of my working life. BorrowMyDoggy has given me the opportunity to spend time with dogs and learn about what it’s like to have one. I’ve been part of the community for about a year and I feel really prepared to get my own dog.

What has been your previous experience with dogs?

I never had a dog growing up, but I always had cats. My boyfriend had dogs so I have lived with people who had dogs. I feel ready for the responsibility of a dog now and I like that stability. I do love cats, but there’s something special about dogs - they’re your best mate!

What were your initial thoughts when looking for a local match?

When I signed up, I was looking for small, cute and fluffy dogs, like Cockapoos and Poodles. What I ended up walking was Peppa, a Miniature Poodle, and Dixie, a German Shepherd.

Dixie is my nextdoor neighbour’s granddaughter’s dog. I spend a lot of time with her and have even taken her away with me on holiday. It’s changed my life.

Tell us a little more about your match...

The day I met Dixie changed my life. We walked her on New Year’s Day and from there I started walking her during the week when her owner was at work. I’m doing a PHD so I can walk her and have her with me at home. She’s really easy going and I love her so much. We took her to the Lake District last weekend and it added an extra dimension to our holiday. Our biggest challenge has been introducing her to my cats! We would like to get one of her puppies.

I get on really well with her owner and they are really easy going. We text at start of week and agree when I can walk her so it’s flexible. If there is a week I’m away then that’s fine as it’s not a paid job. I’m very busy doing a PHD, I’m also the manager of a business and I do lots of other volunteering, but borrowing Dixie and Peppa is the one thing I refuse to cut down on. It’s the part of the day I enjoy the most. No matter what’s happened, as soon as I’m with Dixie or Peppa, I’m happy. It totally changes your mindset. I work in mental health and I completely believe that there should be dog therapy.

How was your 'Welcome Woof'?

With Dixie, I was initially reluctant as she is a very big dog, but when I met her I fell in love. She just lay on her back and wanted tummy tickles! She is so sweet and gentle - I was totally bowled over! We took her walking, which was challenging at first as she was pulling strongly on the lead, but now she walks nicely.

My ‘Welcome Woof’ with Peppa and Lydia was lovely. We met them on the weekend and had a chat and a walk. Peppa is a really well behaved dog and super intelligent. She walks to heel the whole time and looks so regal - the way she trots really makes me laugh. My Mum loves her, too. I love walking and it is so much more fun when you have a dog with you.

Would you recommend BorrowMyDoggy to friends? What would you tell them?

Yes, definitely and I have to a lot of people. My advice would be to really get to know the person, be comfortable with them and think about what time you can offer them realistically. There has to be an element of building up trust. I used to be a primary school teacher, so if people trust me with a child then I hope they would trust me with a dog. Owners need to know that you are responsible so you have to be willing to spend time with them and make sure you use the same training methods as they do.

It’s better that your dog is staying with someone who knows and cares about it than sitting in a kennel for 2 weeks. Dixie so much happier with us for 2 weeks than in kennels. If you leave your dog with a parent or best friends, then why not a borrower? At the end of the day, it’s people who love dogs and they are doing it for free.

Describe your BorrowMyDoggy experience in one sentence.

Borrowing dogs has changed my life and taught me skills that will make me a responsible dog owner.

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