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Rent a Pet - Will this Idea Work?

Posted in Our Community @ Nov 15th 2012 1:20pm - By Judy Gillespie
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WOW!  My first reaction? No way - leasing a pet is wrong - it could never work.  But I kept reading "Rent A Pup - Oregon’s richest veterinarian wants to lease you a pet—but complaints dog his business."

And what an interesting read it was.  'Hannah the Pet Society' is a new business set up by entrepreneurial veterinarian Scott Campbell from Oregan.  He sold his previous business,  Banfield Pet Hospitals in 2007 when the company was pulling in more than $400 million a year. And he's obviously someone who does thing differently! 

"Hannah the Pet Society is the first store of a planned rollout across the country where customers can take home a dog, cat, rabbit or guinea pig and, for a monthly fee, receive food and veterinarian care in the knowledge, if it doesn’t work out, they can return the animal."

Yes - I agree that the idea is very different and my instinct is to say "No" but maybe concepts like this one, that are so radically different, may hold the key to success.  The last two sentences in the article: "And, Campbell adds, if people don’t want a Hannah pet, they don’t have to get one.  “A lot of people feel threatened by anything new,” he says. “If you just create a business that does what every other organization does, you’re probably going to get the same results.” (I added the emphasise!)

Even if you don't embrace the idea 100%, at least entertaining the thought that perhaps there are different ways of doing something is a step in the right direction.  Afterall, many veterinary practices are struggling with profitability so is it time to shake it all up & think about things from a different perspective?

Ok - now go and read the whole article (it's quite long but worth reading in it's entirety) "Rent A Pup - Oregon’s richest veterinarian wants to lease you a pet—but complaints dog his business."

I'd love to hear what you think of 'Hannah The Pet Society' - you don't have to agree with it to see some of the positives.  So tell us what are the pro's and con's to this idea?  What are the good ideas and the bad ideas?

Do we need totally 'out of the box' ideas like this to help the industry move forward?


Louise Kerr @ Dec 5th 2012 7:40am
I seem to recall a story some time ago about this being done in Japan. I think it is a very intersting idea. There is some dislike of it in the training community but I think if done right it could work. Sadly he will get a lot of doubters who will respond without examing the idea in full.
Gillian Shippen @ Dec 5th 2012 8:23am
First thought - before reading the article: from your blog - it actually doesn't sound like a bad idea Now to read the article
Gillian Shippen @ Dec 5th 2012 10:24am
OK - have read the article and some of the accompanying comments I think the idea has merit - yes it makes people a little uncomfortable because it is new. Hey I get people telling me the things I get for pets for environmental enrichment is a waste of money and unnecessary - it won't suit everyone for sure and they clearly say - if you don't want to get one of their animals then don't. Yes it has merits and like all new ideas, it needs some kinks ironed out but maybe it is the way of the future. At the end of the day, even though people are more knowledgeable about 'puppy farms' they still want those cute designer dogs, you can't stop that but perhaps you can make that step better for the animals and their new owners. I regularly have clients ring asking if I know of any ethical breeders of whatever flavoured designer dog because they had heard about puppy farms and wanted to be sure they didn't get one from there. Despite the good works of shelters, there is still a high dump rate and at least this gives an opportunity if the animal doesn't fit for it to be given an opportunity to find the right fit. The plan certainly would encourage people to seek veterinary attention earlier because costs are covered - often we get people that sit and wait on things because they aren't prepared or can't afford to pay the vet fee. Had one recently with a GS with an infected ear for a couple of months - the owner had been trying to self medicate with stuff from a pet shop until finally it got so bad he finally came to the vet. Often with some things such as lumps, people wait because they assume it going to cost a fortune to surgically remove - it is self prophesising because by the time they do seek attention the thing is so big it is harder to remove! I think the lady that got the Little Yorkie would be one that would complain no matter what, she clearly said she couldn't afford the dog in the first place. To say her concern was if something major happened the business would be in control of the treatment or euthanasia option well I would suggest she would be placed in that situation anyway because of her lack of finances if she wasn't on the plan!!! And then she would be complaining that vets are only interested in the money. Basically it is the veterinary industry's fault she can't afford treatment. Every one has a level of service that THEY think is acceptable. It happens everyday in vet practice; you could have 5 different people come in with the exact same problem with their pet & all will take a different approach to treatment. One may insist on bloods for an annual health check, another will be happy with the regular vet check including booster shot, yet another will just be happy with a check up only and all three are quite acceptable. One of the detractors was disgusted and they felt that was sloppy practice the Society didn't do annual dentals under GA, something that person had done every year on their pet. One could argue is it really necessary to do an annual dental under GA? Why not practice preventative care instead by appropriate diet or even cleaning the teeth daily, or feeding raw bones? Although in the USA there is a negativity for feeding any raw bones or meat to pets. We live in a quick fix, instant gratification society and are busy (or lazy) so the plan has merit to make sure at least the animals are obtaining care they may not get otherwise.

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