PROVO — For college students everywhere, having permanent pets in student apartments and dorms is usually out of the question. BYU student Jenna Miller is making international news for creating a way for students to have a puppy — at least for an hour — and not break any university rules.
"The first reason I decided to start it is that college students aren't allowed to have pets and a lot of students really miss that, their pets back home," Miller told the Deseret News. "I thought it'd be a good idea to get a taste of that it would possibly help give puppies a home so that people would be able to see them first and then adopt them."
Puppies for Rent is Miller's new business where people can reserve a puppy for one or more hours to play with in the Provo and Orem area. For $15 an hour, $25 for two, and $10 for each additional hour, a puppy can be rented out after contracts are signed.
"They're legally protected, we see where they are going and that they are going to a good place," Miller said.
The idea came after Miller heard about Yale University's dog rental program, where students could play with a puppy during finals week.
The puppies have been rented for first dates, mothers rewarding their children and surprise parties, she said, and many customers have rented puppies more than once.
There are some who do not agree with the point of the business, specifically the way it may be affecting the puppies' growth and development — including those with the Utah Humane Society.
"It's the whole concept of renting puppies out, at a time when they need consistency and stability in their lives," Carl Arky, the Humane Society’s Director of Communication, said in a Daily Mail article. "We're philosophically opposed to that."
However, Miller isn't worried about the concerns surrounding her business venture.
"I can see how people would see it as a way to exploit puppies — that's not we're doing," she said. "I was pleasantly surprised about how many people have been supportive, so many people are so willing to help and participate."
Four to five other people help Miller take puppies to homes and take care of them, for the business. Right now, the business is run by people making reservations via text or phone call. However, beginning Dec. 17 a new website — puppiesforrent.com — for the business will be up and running for people to get information and make rental appointments.
Miller has a 100 percent success rate finding the animals a permanent adoption home, she said. Money paid by renters goes toward the adoption fees, if they decide to take a puppy permanently.
"We've had 11 (puppies) total. We've placed them all before they were 12 weeks old ... most of them go to families, and some students are graduating so they can have a dog after that," the English major said. "So far we've had multiple people want every puppy so we've been able to be choosy. People come to us for them because they are so socialized and are good with people."
All of the puppies originally come from people who bought them, but returned them later for different reasons, Miller said. While not being rented out, the puppies live on a farm in Orem.
Mandy Morgan is an enterprise intern for the Deseret News, reporting on values in the media. She is a true-blue Aggie, studying Journalism and Political Science at Utah State University, and hails from Highland, Utah.
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