A resourceful dog owner has designed a piece of furniture which he hopes will encourage people to share their pooch with another family.
Animal lover Kenneth McLean dreamed up the Doggle Box after becoming increasingly distressed at figures showing soaring numbers of dogs being abandoned in Britain.
TV show Game of Thrones was blamed for a huge surge in huskies being ditched by owners who were inspired by the hit series to get wolf-like dogs but then found they couldn’t give them the necessary care and attention.
Product design student Kenneth, 22, reckons sharing schemes are the way forward for busy people who want a dog but can’t give them seven days a week round-the-clock commitment.
And he believes the Doggle Box – which comes with bedding, storage space for the dog’s toys, and a built-in screen for co-owners to share photos and videos – will be a huge help to families who want to spread love for a pet between two homes.
The crafted piece of furniture has a box and drawer and acts as a hub for the dog’s accessories but can also be transformed into an additional seat in the family home when the dog is “away” with the other owner.
Jack Russell owner Kenneth, who is in his final year at Edinburgh Napier University and will be exhibiting the Doggle Box at his Degree Show, said: “The idea behind the project was to try to reduce the number of dogs being abandoned, many of which face being put down.
“It also gives people the opportunity to own a dog if they can’t commit to full time ownership but believe sharing a dog with another family, friend or relative could be an option.
“Some people may be aghast at the idea of sharing a dog but owners groups I have spoken to in Edinburgh believe it would work if the co-owners know what they are buying into and are comfortable with the process from the start.
“You could have a scenario where a younger couple look after a dog during the week then a family with children take over at weekends.”
Kenneth has been inspired by existing projects like Borrow My Doggy but is keen to sound out dog charities on a scheme which is closer to shared ownership.
The basic model would involve both families making a donation to the charity to rehome a dog and paying a further sum – he suggests £150 each – to each take possession of a Doggle Box.
Its built-in seven-inch screen links the families via a Facebook page with a joint account, allowing them to share pictures and videos of the dog on a Wifi-enabled picture frame with an internal memory of 2GB which allows up to 2000 photos to be stored.
The Doggle Box also has cushions, and ‘paws’ with light sensors on which light up the home after dark.
Kenneth, of Bathgate, West Lothian, said: “I believe it could work very well for anyone who loves dogs but can’t make a full-time commitment, and I would like to think I could take this further.
“I would like to get people’s reactions and to sound out charities as to whether they think it is a goer.”