BorrowMyDoggy will seriously improve your student life and here’s why
Calling all animal lovers
The way I like to describe BorrowMyDoggy to those who haven’t heard of it before is “Tinder for Dogs”. This is usually met with a perplexed and sometimes borderline concerned expression. I won’t lie, the concept can sound quite weird if you aren’t familiar with it, but stay with me. First, you’ll need to download the app and cough up £12.99 for the annual membership (It’s worth it though, I promise) and then you’re free to flick through different dogs’ profiles, drop a message to the ones you like the look of, and then if it’s all going well, arrange a meet up. Perfect for students who left a furry friend at home and are in need of some four legged companionship.
As I stood at the front door of a stranger’s house, anticipating my first “dog date”, I vividly recall re-evaluating all of the life choices that had got me to this moment. This ranged from “Do I really have time to be faffing around going on dog dates, when by now I’m meant to be a Serious University Student?” to “What if this “owner” is actually a murderous psychopath, who has lured me to her home under the guise of a Bichon Frise?”
Much like real life human dating, it may not always be love at first sight. Unfortunately this “date” did actually turn out to be slightly traumatic, but thankfully not due to the reasons I had hypothesised. In actual fact, I just found it quite hard to chat to the owner (if you know me well, you’ll understand how this could be a dealbreaker, as I usually never shut up). Plus, while the dog himself was very cute, he was still young so not yet well trained. For me, having never owned a dog before, this was not ideal, but I’m sure I could’ve gotten past it. However, the point of no return for me was the poor dog’s extreme and repeated bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting on our walk together, which needless to say was fairly stressful. All of these factors resulted in a rather alarming first impression. On reflection, maybe this was his way of telling me the feeling was mutual.
As you can imagine, I was tempted to bin off my whole dog walking fantasy forever. But, I’d already arranged another “date” prior to this, so I decided to at least stick it out until then. Luckily for me, this time I struck gold and I met my new best friend, Bodhi.
Just look at that face. Not only is he absolutely adorable, he is also so well behaved which was a relief with my serious lack of dog experience. To top it all off, with his two owners being ex-Newcastle and Northumbria students, now married (aww), we had plenty to talk about. On our initial dog date we also went on a test walk, and this was far more successful than the previous – no poo or sick in sight, which is always a good sign when dating.
Since then, Bodhi and I have been all over the Toon on our little weekly adventures, tackling the pigeons, ducks and hissy swans of Leazes and Exhibition Park, many a grimy student house in Jesmond (please don’t tell my estate agents) and his favourite place, Jesmond Dene, where he loves to swim and chase after sticks.
This of course also means I’ve been getting some exercise in. I absolutely rack up the steps when I’m with him – my phone says I did 25,000 on our last outing! By the end of the day, both of us are curled up on the sofa looking a bit like this:
Another obvious advantage of dog borrowing are the mental benefits. All kinds of studies have demonstrated the positive impact pets have on wellbeing; reducing anxiety, depression and minimising loneliness. So what better way to relieve some uni stress than hanging out with a four legged friend? This will be even more relevant to those of you who have left beloved pets behind when coming to uni, as I’m sure you’ll be missing them during term time.
The benefits don’t stop there! I’ve found people tend to be a lot friendlier towards you when they see you are accompanied by an adorable dog. I often watch in amazement, as the frowns of those walking me past turn into beaming grins as they see Bodhi’s wagging tail approach. On the other hand, it can have the opposite effect if the person in question hates dogs, but so far apart from the odd grumpy man, we’ve been pretty fortunate. Having Bodhi with me has also sparked a lot of nice conversations which is always a plus, unless you happen to be the socially anxious type.
BorrowMyDoggy can even give you an ego boost – you’re actually doing a good deed, as while hanging out with your new bestie you’ll be simultaneously helping out an owner who now doesn’t have to fork out for a (far more qualified) dog sitter.
He’s already met so many new friends and I’m determined to make him the biggest BNOC Newcastle University has ever seen. We’re already very recognisable with him being a lot bigger than you’d think in person (no offence Bodhi) and me not even reaching 5ft so there’s a chance you’ve seen me parading him around campus. And yes, he does walk me rather than the other way round. I don’t want to hear it.
So, is it worth the membership fee? Absolutely. If nothing else, I know on a Wednesday morning, no matter how everyone else in my life is feeling, at least Bodhi will be happy to see me.
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