Why do you share a dog?
He's a border collie / black labrador cross I think, although he was a stray so there was no information about him at all. They think he was about 1 when we adopted him (he's 6 now). He was very anxious and hyper when we first had him and really panicked when he was left on his own. He still doesn't like to be left alone, and has really never wanted to leave sight of us. This can be good, in that he never has a desire to run away. He's a very gentle character and has really relaxed and is incredibly comfortable with both of us now. We have a regular routine with him and we both love him to bits. We do have different rules, but he knows and adapts easily and has different benefits from both of us. He is a great traveller and is happy in the back of the car for long journeys (or even on the ferry to the Channel Islands) as long as he knows that he is with us!
What does dog-sharing entail - how long and how often do you do it?
We share him by one of us having him on Sunday and Monday night, then he goes to the other for Tuesday and Wednesday night each week. We then alternate weekends. This is more helpful to us as it means that we have the same nights free in the week to organise other things for ourselves. If one of us is going away somewhere where he can't come, we see if the other can have him and if that doesn't work then we tend to ask a friend to have him. He's incredibly easy to have and gets on with most other dogs so he's not difficult to look after.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering doing this?
Mainly that you need to have a good, considerate relationship with your dog-share partner. It has a lot to do with how considerate of each other as sharers you are. You need to be able to coordinate holidays and be adaptable about any other things that arise. My dog-share partner ended up having to have a lot of medical treatment so I needed to take on responsibility for our dog during this time, for several months.You also need to have a regular routine so your dog knows his routine and feels safe and confident in what's happening.
Finally, can you sum up the whole experience for you, the dog, and his owners?
After 6 years of sharing our wonderful boy, I absolutely adore him and I know my dog-share does too. My dog-share had been a good friend for many years before we had him, and we live within 5 minutes of each other, so all this has made it a fantastic experience for us all.
Very occasionally, there have been times when something isn't perfect, but, like any relationship, you just need to be understanding and recognise how the benefits massively outweigh any differences of opinion.
I wouldn't change him or the situation at all, for anything. He is my therapy, I love him, and he enhances my well-being everyday. I couldn't image my life without him!
Please tell us about any dog-sharing experiences you know of! We love hearing about how dogs can make lives happier.
Love Rupert the Westie
Written by Elena Holmes