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Remembering the Dogs I’ve Borrowed

Hi-jinks with man’s best friend

By Steven FitzgeraldPublished 8 months ago 3 min read
Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

A few months ago, I downloaded a dog-borrowing app.

For the uninitiated, this is a simple way for dog-lovers who aren’t able to own a canine to speak to local dog-owners who need their pet to be walked.

As a dog-lover, this seemed a foolproof way to get my four-legged fix without going through the trouble of becoming a dog father myself. What could go wrong?


My app was marketed as Tinder for Dogs. They lied.

On Tinder, there is a chance — albeit a slim one — of meeting someone vaguely sane.

The dogs on my app did not bother dabbling with anything as mundane as sanity.

Instead, I appear to have stumbled across the digital home for the most deranged creatures on the planet.

These animals didn’t need the Dog Whisperer. They required an exorcism.

Every time I borrowed someone else’s dog, I embarked on an adventure that resulted in either profound embarrassment or potential arrest. Or, a combination of the two.

Given the vast field, compiling a shortlist of my least favourite furry miscreants was difficult. However, hoping to safeguard the sanity and liberty of anyone else who might be considering downloading such an app, I’ve assembled my Top Ten Worst Dogs I’ve Borrowed.

10. Coriander

A German Shepard almost as tall as me. Possibly the most fearsome-looking animal I’ve ever seen. The only thing tarnishing his terrifying visage was his fear of ants.


Do you know how many ants there are in the average public park? Millions.

The three hours I spent with him were the longest of my life.

And I’ve watched ‘Dune: Part One.’

9. Tolstoy

A French bulldog who would try to fornicate with anything, dead or alive. If I’d given him the chance, he probably would have even tried to hump an ant.

8. Shazam

A rottweiler who took Coriander’s myrmecophobia and multiplied it to the nth degree by being afraid of everything.


In the twenty minutes I spent in his company, the list of things he got nervous about included ants, dogs that humped ants — I’m looking at you, Tolstoy —, trees, the sky, the ground and air.

7. Prudence

A bad-tempered Basset hound who knocked an old lady to the ground. On purpose. It was like something out of WWF.

Glad Tolstoy wasn’t there. A prone elderly woman? Things could have got very messy.

6. Vader

Q: Why had the owners of this tiny terrier named him after one of the evilest characters in cinema history?

A: Because he’s an anger-fueled, twelve-pound ball of malevolence.

I only realized this after he’d clamped his jaws around my calf following my attempts to discourage him from trying to attack six swans, four toddlers, and three policemen.

I spent the two-mile walk back to his owners’ home with him rigidly attached to my shin at a ninety-degree angle to the ground.

5. Elmo

A cockapoo with an unfortunate facial hair arrangement— she had a moustache that resembled Stalin’s. She also lacked spatial awareness — I gave up trying to walk her after the nineteenth tree she ran headlong into.

4. Bourbon

A golden retriever who thought he was a goose.

3. Cardigan

A poodle who ate a goose.

I’m certain the group of pre-schoolers who witnessed this now have PTSD.

2. Fleming

A Pomeranian who pooped in a stranger's car. The police were summoned. Upon their arrival, Fleming defecated in their car as well. It’s why I now have a criminal record.

1. Ringo

A kleptomaniac chihuahua.

Stole three children’s balls.

Stole the sunglasses from an ice cream vendor.

Stole someone’s identity and is now living under the guise of Evan de Shan, a commodities broker. Resides in Monte Carlo, married to a supermodel.

NB: On the advice of the police, I’ve uninstalled the app. And once I’ve paid the various fines, I’m hoping I might be allowed to re-enter the park.

(Author's Note: This is - largely - a fictional piece written for humorous effect. Although some of the above DID actually happen, most of it is nonsense. The majority of dogs and their owners I've encountered on my dog-borrowing app have been amazing. Apart from Ringo - he was a 100% certified lunatic.)


If you've liked what you've read, please check out the rest of my work on Vocal -

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About the Creator

Steven Fitzgerald


Film, theatre, mental health, sport, politics, music, travel, and the occasional short story... it's a varied mix!

Tips greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!!

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