20 Aug 2019

The Dog Share Collective connects people with dogs

From First Up, 5:52 am on 20 August 2019

For many dog lovers, owning a dog is an unobtainable dream, for others, keeping up with the demands of a dog is a struggle - the Dog Share Collective connects the two. 

Justin Meade is a ‘dog borrower’, keeping dogs Betty and Charlie company when their owner Katherine Short is busy with work and study.

Visual Journalist Ana Tovey met up with the dogs and their doting humans in Wellington to see how dog sharing works for them.

“It’s filled a gaping hole for me. I haven’t had a dog for 22 years and I’ve pined for a dog," says Meade.

He visits the dogs two or three times a week.

"My immediate thought when I saw the website was this was made just for me. Really it's like a dating service, so you put in the area you're in and what sort of dogs you like, if any, and you get all of these profiles appearing.

"I'm a single guy and I don't own my own house and I don't think that's going to change unless I get a tiny house, which I'm into."

Meade says when you're flatting it's hard to find a dog-friendly landlord, and his love of travel puts another spanner in the works.

Katherine Short studies te reo Māori and travels a lot for work, making her the perfect candidate for dog sharing.

In the past she's used commerical dog sitting services but says it's much better for the dogs if they have a relationship with the person looking after them.

"I get huge piece of mind out of the dog sharing system with Justin and I know that the dogs love being with him."

She says Meade was the perfect fit for Charlie and Betty.

And Meade thinks so too.

"You could have blown me down with a feather, because that is the name of my deceased mother and father so I really wonder what's going on up there," Meade says.

"It's a real example of community building," says Short. "And it's a really lovely example of how the internet has this whole different layer of potential depth to it. It's just a neat way that people can reach out and find others that you wouldn't have otherwise."