Monday, 4 July 2016

Website Review: Borrow My Doggy

A little while ago, we were asked to explore and review the services and website offered by Borrow My Doggy!

What is Borrow My Doggy?

Borrow My Doggy is effectively an online community with over 300,000 members, established since 2012, for dog owners to connect with "borrowers" - essentially dog lovers who perhaps can't or don't currently have a dog of their own, and want to be able to connect with dogs for walks, playtime or just some fuss and attention!  It pretty much works like a dating app - borrowers and owners can view local profiles of people in their area, they can directly message each other and strike up communication through the website.  There is also a mobile app which we also had a play with.

How does the website work? 

The website is very easy to navigate and has a friendly "persona" - the ethos of Borrow My Doggy is to leave "Pawprints of Happiness" on the lives of owners and borrowers, to build relationships and to help provide help without payment to dog owners.

Borrow My Doggy home page

Verification process

Lottie's profile page!

Anyone can set up a free profile and have a browse, but if you want to contact anyone and become a verified member, there is a membership fee.  Currently owners pay £44.99 a year, and borrowers a mere £9.99 a year.  The membership fee includes verification (onto that in a moment), third party liability insurance as long as both the borrower and owner are full members, and a 24/7 vet hotline for both parties.

The verification process is a multi step process, including providing providing full address and telephone number details, providing verification of such and meeting face to face (which Borrow My Doggy call the "Welcome Woof".   There is also the option to upload a verification video, which we did at the app stage.

The app itself is currently only available for the iPhone, but would hope that this will eventually rolled out to Android.  Luckily, I have an iPhone!   It is a fairly simple and easy to navigate app, and does make messaging borrowers and owners a little more like sending a normal text message  Upon downloading the app, I also had to upload a short clear video, stating my name along with some other details.  One thing we were unsure of is if those videos are reviewed for legitimacy.

Mobile App screenshots

So did you meet anyone?

We actually met a couple of people off Borrow My Doggy, to get a good idea of a borrowers experiences.  It took a little time to sort out with all the disgusting wet weather we have had recently, so invited them to our home, with the option of a walk should it have stayed sunny!


The first lady we met was Lisa, a lovely lady who lives not that far from us (you can sort borrowers by distance, and also handily can see how active they have been on the site).

Lisa initially joined Borrow My Doggy as a dog owner, when she was looking to find a borrower who could help her when her spaniel was diagnosed with pancreatitis, by popping in and letting her out. However, within a couple of weeks her spaniel was with her parents as needed full time care, and Lisa changed over to the Borrower side, as she missed her dog terribly, along with the beautiful countryside walks, which aren't always nice for a female lone walker.

Lisa has had some positive experiences through the site, although has noted that there are a proportion of dog owners who see it is an easy way of getting their dogs exercise needs tended to without having to walk them themselves. However, she did gain a great trusting friendship, helping a dog owner who genuinely wanted help with a rescue poodle, leading to a vast improvement with the dogs issues (from a very sad history as a rescue) and rewarding all round.

Lottie enjoying her cuddles with Lisa!


Carly is another lovely lady and Lottie had another load of cuddles, but we were the first ones she had met off the website, as she has not been that successful in finding people.

Carly loves dogs and grew up with German Shepherds, but has a cat that doesn't tolerate dogs, so can't have one herself currently, so she joined purely because of her love of  doggies! As with Lisa, it would be lovely to meet up with her again to go on a nice walk and for Lottie to show off her exemplary skills in finding disgusting things to roll in!  This changeable weather didn't make it too easy to set up walks!!

As with any online community and looking at Carly's experience, it tends to  be luck of the draw of who has registered in your local area but that is not a fault of Borrow My Doggy, just logistics!   One suggestion Carly had was refining the "Activity" status bar - at the moment it gives you a general activity level - very, fairly, rarely active etc, whereas she felt knowing how long ago someone was last active would be far more useful.

More cuddles with Carly!

What do we think?

The premise of Borrow My Doggy is an interesting one, and has some potentially great benefits for both dog owners and borrowers.  I can from a dog owners perspective see how it won't appeal to all - our fur babies are such a part of our lives, that the thought of handing them over to a stranger can be a prospect that many won't contemplate.  My opinion?  I think it is like any other new friends you may meet - find out as much information about them as you can, be cautious about who you are meeting (I did liken it to a dating app!), and don't trust anyone with your dog until you are 100% sure that they can be trusted.   We very much enjoyed meeting our two borrowers, and while I am not personally looking for anyone to care for Lottie, I would very much like to stay in touch with them both and we have talked about going on nice long walks with Lottie.

And perhaps that is where I see it working for me - meeting new doggy-minded friends who would like to go on nice walks / outings with a dog owner and their dog, rather than handing over care.  Personally I also think it would be awesome if there was an option for dog owners to connect with other dog owners to also make dog walking friends, or even group walks set up for both dog walkers and borrowers to attend (group walks are fantastic ways of getting chatting to people!).  However, a registered dog owner can still create a free borrower profile to be able to browse local dog owners, should they wish to meet up with other dog owners.

The only other thing I would perhaps comment on is the membership fee of £44.99 a year - tying in a dog owner for a whole year seems quite steep, and perhaps a monthly instalment (even a slightly more expensive one if paying monthly) would be a good option.  However, Borrow My Doggy do offer a 3 month money back guarantee, should you have not met a match in that time.

Overall it has been a positive experience for us, and we have enjoyed chatting to a couple of borrowers, who we will be keeping in touch with.  Like anything else in life, just be careful.

So if you are wanting to meet up with dog owners or borrowers in your area, click here to set up a free profile and have a browse - you never know, you may find your perfect doggy match!

Membership to Borrow My Doggy was provided - however this is a full and honest review! 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Product Review: The SureFeed Sealed Pet Bowl

Firstly, I must apologise for our absence.  We have as ever been active over on our Facebook and Instagram pages, but Hooman started a new job a couple of months ago, managing others for the first time, and as you can imagine, it has been all consuming!

Onto our review - Hooman is always excited when we get offered something new and innovative to review (although we appreciate all who consider us, there is only so many ways of trying a new food out on me without changing my diet completely!), and this was surely innovative.

What were we sent?

The product sent for us to review was from a company called SureFlap, who design and sell a range of pet bowls, that use a variety of technologies to keep food fresh and safe.

The bowl we were sent was the SureFeed Sealed Pet Bowl (Hooman did forewarn them that I am a gannet spangle, who eats her dinner in about 30 seconds flat, but hopefully we can demonstrate it properly for you!).

What does it do?

The SureFeed bowl has a motion activated clear plastic flap, that is, well, motion activated!   Unlike some of their other products, this is only reliant on motion, so doesn't need any collar or microchip activation to work.   If you don't have a snaffling spangle like me, this means that any food that is left will remain fresher, wet food won't dry out so quickly, flies will be kept off, and food smells will be kept to a minimum.   I can see this particularly being useful for dog and cat picky eaters, who don't inhale their food.

Can I see it in action?

Sure!  This is a video Hooman took with just a little kibble for illustration (which of course I finished, hehe).

What do we think?

For a dog like me that eats everything instantly, there is probably not too much benefit.  However, for picker dogs and cats, especially those on wet food (and I fell into this category as a pup - I NEVER used to eat my whole meal at once!), this could be particularly useful, particularly in the summer. Most pet owners will know how horrible wet food can get when left out!

It is a very clever bit of technology - it is a little pricey at around £49.99, but the geeky among you, is quite a nifty bit of kit.  The only thing I would be aware of is that it takes 4 of those big batteries, which were about £8 in our Ocado delivery.  That said, we have had it down on the kitchen floor for over a month, with it reacting every time Hooman walks past, and it is still going strong, so I think the battery layout does actually last quite a long time. According to SureFlap's website, the batteries should last a full six months.

Where can I get one?

You can buy it directly from the SureFlap website by clicking here.   Have a browse of their other products too - there is a similar bowl that is activated by just one pet's microchip - great if you have a multi-pet household, and someone is always snaffling all the food!!

This product was sent to us for review.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Product Review: Chow Bella spaniel bowls

We were delighted recently to be contacted by Chow Bella, to review their beautifully handmade spaniel bowls.  We are not new to Chow Bella at all - I have been dining out of their bowls since I was a pup, but jumped at the opportunity to have some beautiful new bowls for our beautiful new home!

Chow Bella is a name known to many a spaniel owner, and was set up by Claire Pearson 10 years ago, who was trying to find a bowl that wouldn't leave her cocker spaniel Bella's ears crusty and/or wet.  Hooman knows the feeling - being a diminutive cocker myself, the bigger spaniel bowls don't really have the desired effect!  So Claire, a skilled potter, took to her wheel and created her first spaniel bowl.  She shared her creation on a well known spaniel forum and was suddenly inundated with requests from equally wet and crusty eared spaniel owners, and ten years later it is now a full time business!

Claire and Bella

Chow Bella produces all sizes and shapes of personalised pet bowls and treat jars for both our canine and feline friends, but her spaniel bowls still remain her best seller, and we are a huge fan.   They really are personalisable - you can select your colours, patterns, lettering, and even have them blinged up with Swarovski crystals.   I have had them since being a puppy and my two old ones have lasted us three years, with nary a chip, and the added bonus of being dishwasher safe.  You hoomans do moan about the washing up.....

Chow Bella was named after Claire's blue roan cocker, Bella, who is now 11 years old.  She also deserves a mention for fighting malignant melanoma, and is now in remission - keep it up Bella! Claire has more recently branched out into personalised treat jars, and now also does different size spaniel bowls, to cater for springers and cavs.

The beautiful Bella!

What did Chow Bella send us?

We received two of her bowls, beautifully made as ever, with her more recent polka dot design which we love.  Hooman chose the colours and the lettering, and they are just gorgeous, sturdy bowls. All bowls are good bowls, as long as they are full of food, but these really are extra special, and we love the little bone prints that Claire put on for us.  But really, words can't do these justice, so here are some pics!

Posing with bowls

Why is it still empty, Hooman?

An "ear" demo!

Each bowl is individually signed

Where can I buy them?

You can order Chow Bella bowls directly from the website, where you can select how you want your bowls personalised, by clicking here.  The standard spaniel bowls start from £26.99 - remember these bowls are handmade, and custom made for you, plus if looked after, they will last a lifetime, and are totally worth the investment.

You can also now order bowls directly through their Facebook page by clicking here!

Chow Bella did send us bowls to review, but we are a delighted existing customer, so a truly honest opinion!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Crufts tickets giveaway time!

As you know, we were thrilled to be contacted by the Kennel Club to attend Crufts again this year - we had a wonderful time last year!  And of course, this year is a special year for Crufts - it's their 125 year birthday!   This was me on the pink carpet last year, and another having a massage at the Canine Massage Guild stand.  Oh it was lovely....

To celebrate the worlds biggest dog show, the organisers have been splendid and given us two pairs of tickets for a giveaway.   This entitles two lucky winners to a pair of tickets that you can use on any day (we will be there on the Friday, gundog day - OBVS the best day heehee) - the only thing you won't be able to use them for is the Best In Show on the final evening, as that is a separately ticketed event.

All details for entering are below, and the giveaway will run until midnight Sunday 29th February, to allow us enough time to get in touch with the lucky winners and send out your tickets in good time!

You can also purchase tickets for Crufts by clicking here.

Good luck and we hope to see you there!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

125 Years of Crufts!

As you know, we were delighted to be invited to attend Crufts this year and are looking forward to being there on Gundog day, Friday 11th March 2016!   However, did you also know that this year marks 125 years of Crufts, the biggest dog show in the world!   So here we have Crufts in Numbers, an infographic from the Kennel Club, with some brilliant facts about the history of Crufts.  Must admit, did giggle at the bit about the live TV pooping!

Don't forget, we will be holding a giveaway very soon for Crufts tickets, so stay tuned!  In the meantime, to buy tickets for Crufts, please click here for ticket sales.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

We're back!

After a hectic month of moving in December, Christmas collapsed in a heap recovering, and the start of January with Hooman obsessed with thinking about mirrors, blinds, lights, furniture, accessories, etc etc, and a few other things cropping up here and there, we are finally ready to re-enter the blogosphere!  So here's a brief summary of our last couple of months:

Excuse the cardboard box in the background - we still have lots!

We moved house! 

Most people will know of the stresses and strains of moving house and it really did take it out of Hooman more than she thought it would, although coming down with a nasty cold while she was still trying to sort out the old house didn't help.

I have adjusted remarkably well, and after woofing reactively to everything on my first evening (Hooman was terrified what the neighbours would think!), I then slept through the first night, and have been perfectly relaxed since.  Except I do have a bit of a woof when I hear the neighbours door open, just to keep Hooman on her toes, hehe.  All the neighbours love me (we are in a small apartment block but a lovely big flat to run around in) and one neighbour has already looked after me for an evening while Hooman went to a wedding reception!

Our new home has just oodles of windows - great for a nosey spangle like me.  I have spent a long time standing at the window watching the world go by, and giving frankly terrifying little wuffs and grrs to passersby.  I don't know why this makes Hooman laugh so much....

I'm watching you.  All of you....

We had some snow! 

Not as much as Hooman would like - she likes feet of the stuff ideally, but enough for me to run around in it and get it in my ears.  Spangle ears and snow is not a great combo!

This was just the beginning - I had massive earballs by the end of the walk! 

I had a burfday! 

I was THREE yesterday!  I had some treats - my favourite Fish4Dog Sea Wraps (dried sweet potato batons wrapped with dried fish skin), and a new squeaky monkey.

All good spangles need a squeaky monkey!  

We have been invited to Crufts! 

We were very excited to get an email from the Kennel Club last week inviting us to Crufts - we had such fun last year.  We will be writing more about this forthwith...

We have some fun things to review! 

Next in the pipeline is some lovely hand made spaniel bowls from Chow Bella (we are already big fans, so were thrilled when she made us some to match our new kitchen!), and a Panasonic Smart Home monitoring kit.  Hooman is a geek, so is particularly excited about setting this up and spying on me from her mobile phone!

Our new Blogville corner!

Sooo, sorry for the absence, although we have stayed active on all our social media platforms, but hopefully now we have our little corner of Blogville set up (and how girly is this, Hooman loves it, although she is trying to find a pretty white office chair, rather than a dining chair heehee).

Till the next time! 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Just a quick Howdy-do!

I must apologise for our absence recently. We haven't disappeared, but we are moving house, and currently the iMac is packed up!  We will be properly up and running again in the new year (hopefully in a couple of weeks, broadband setup permitting!), and already have a list of posts to start working on, including a review of Chow Bella bowls, and the Panasonic Smart Home monitoring system!  I am also hoping to have a chat with a Hearing Dog owner, and a puppy walker for assistance dogs.

So once again, apologies for the quiet - in the meantime, our social media pages are alive and well, so come and find us with the social icons to the right.

See you soon!

Amanda and Lottie xx