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Nine to Fido: Rikke Rosenlund of BorrowMyDoggy

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The clue is in the company name but if you’ve not yet heard of BorrowMyDoggy, it’s a scheme where you errrr … get to borrow someone’s pooch.

However don’t fret – the dogs aren’t loaned out to any Tom, Dick and Harry. BorrowMyDoggy is a trusted community of dog lovers where borrowers (often dog-less) help take care of pooches when their owner is too busy for walks, weekends or holidays. A win win situ all round; the dog receives double the affection, the borrower gets their much needed doggy-fix and the owner has peace of mind that their hound is happy and cared for in their absence. 

Not your average doggy business, BorrowMyDoggy co-founder Rikke Rosenlund (pictured right) tells us about her Nine to Fido shapes up running the UK’s premier pup loaning service …

What made you decide to set up BorrowMyDoggy?
BorrowMyDoggy was born out of an experience that I had in the summer of 2012 when I was approached by my neighbour, who needed someone to look after his dog while he went out for the day. Instead of spending the day stuck indoors, Aston (the loveable pooch in question), went for several walks in the park, attended a garden party and chilled with some new friends.

It dawned on me that all owners need to be apart from their dog at times but there's no need for the dog to be home alone, or for owners to always have to pay for a dog walker or kennel services. There are thousands of adoring dog lovers who, just like me, would love to take care of a dog for free, and would look after the dog really well. I realised that by creating a place online for these people to meet, it would make so many people and dogs happy.

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How did the business go from an idea to reality?
In October 2012, I met my pawsome co-founder, Les Cochrane or ‘Tech Puppy’ as he’s also known (pictured left above) at a business workshop, and we decided to launch BorrowMyDoggy with the aim of leaving ‘Pawprints of Happiness’ on the lives of dogs and people. Since then we’ve had an incredible amount of support from our lovely members, the startup community and beyond. With all of this support, BorrowMyDoggy has become a nationwide community, with thousand of new members signing up every week.

Tell us about your typical working day 
I don’t think there is such a thing as a “typical working day” at BorrowMyDoggy. Every day is so different, which I love. One set routine is that we like to start our working day with a pack meeting called daily stand up, where we talk about everything that we did the previous day and what we have planned for the day ahead. From there it’s onwards and pupwards.

What were you doing before BorrowMyDoggy? 
I worked in financial services and entrepreneurship in the UK and Latin America, as well as volunteering in disaster relief zones, and I have an MBA from INSEAD (the business school for the world). My co-founder Les, has also worked for big corporations, developing websites since the end of the 90’s as well as volunteering at the RSPCA. We both have training from big companies and share joint values in making a difference to people’s, and of course the dogs’ lives.

What are the pros and cons of your dog-job?
A definite pro is the variety of work that we get to do on a day-to-day basis. I feel incredibly lucky to work with my co-founder, Les. He has such broad expertise. Both him and the rest of the pack are so much fun to work with and it’s lovely to be part of a team where everyone is so passionate about what we do and shares the same values. The only downside is that sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, and I don’t always get as much dog time in as I would like.

What do you find most rewarding about BorrowMyDoggy?
Seeing the pawsitive impact that the members of the BorrowMyDoggy community are having on each other’s lives. We can see from our doggybase that the majority of owners on BorrowMyDoggy say that one of their reasons for signing up their pooch is to make someone else happy. 

What advice would you give to a would-be dog-preneur?
You have to be passionate about what you do and believe in the difference that you can make. As an entrepreneur setting up a brand new business, there is so much to learn so just embrace the fact that there will be lots of things that you don’t know and be open to asking questions. Also, always listen to your customers and only develop something that they will love to use. Finally, take an active part in the startup community, which is incredibly inspiring, and always help others whenever you can.

Meet just a few of their doggy members … keep reading for their profiles. 

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Clockwise from left:

Daisy the Puggle from St Albans is a bundle of bouncy fun and just loves being around people of all ages. She loves being cuddled and made a fuss of and likes nothing more than curling up on your lap after a walk or play.

Vincent the Patterdale Terrier from London is very playful, pretty smart, and has bundles of energy. Despite being a Cumbrian breed he dislikes the rain and would prefer to snuggle in front of a fire. He's very sweet and most people adore his comical, playful manner.

Lottie the Cocker Spaniel from Milton Keynes is cuddly and loving, very laid back although gets very excited meeting people - she loves everybody, human and dog. Loves walks, the muddier or wetter, the better!

Molly the Golden Retriever from Manchester is a lovely, adorable and loving Retriever. She has endless energy and loves to play till she drops. We would love to have her new friends come join us for visits too.

Keen to know more about this unique canine community? Visit BorrowMyDoggy.com and get regular pupdates on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

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