Get Ready for Rent-a-Pet

Too busy to care for a pet full-time? A new company lets animal lovers share, though some activists don't want you to

Jeffrey Lamont Brown for TIME

Ms. Alexis Rodriguez bonds with Jackpot, one of Flex-Petz' homeless dogs. Flex-Petz rents out ownership of homeless dogs for as little as a few hours a day to an entire week.

Some people buy time-shares in condos, others in canines. Yes, pet sharing--once the province solely of divorced couples--is giving free-market forces a scratch behind the ears. The nation's first rent-a-pup store opened its doors six months ago in San Diego when FlexPetz started rescuing dogs from animal shelters and renting them out for as little as a few hours or as long as a week. The company is doing so well it opened a branch in Los Angeles in June, and will be in San Francisco and New York City by September.

But while many shelters think the business plan is...

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