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The Anxiety Diaries: BorrowMyDoggy is what’s missing in your life

One of the only mum-approved decisions I made at uni 


For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years and don’t know what BorrowMyDoggy is, fear not, for I am here to open your eyes to one of the greatest university life hacks. If you are experiencing separation-sadness from your family dog during term time, or even just needing an excuse to get out of the house, let me put you onto this. 

I signed up to BorrowMyDoggy in term two last year. I saw an ad on Instagram and thought, why the hell not? My mum had just been diagnosed as severely allergic to pretty much everything with fluff, so we no longer had any pets at home. As someone who only ever had cats, I’d never owned a dog, let alone taken one on a walk by myself – but I signed up anyway. 

You can join for free, but in order to text and reply to messages, you have to pay £1 a month. For some people, the idea of paying to walk a dog instead of BEING paid sounds absurd, but hear me out. For £1 a month, I was able to contact a bunch of owners and spend time with loads of dogs with no experience AND insurance. It was like all the best bits of having a dog without actually having one. 

Like I said, for some people, this sounds like a stupid idea. But for others, this might just be the sign they were looking for that it’s not a total scam. And here is the dog that’s going to seal the deal for you.

Enter: Toffee the Jack Russell cross and newfound love of my life. 

Toffee and I go on a walk every Friday. He lives 0.25 miles away from me, so we’re basically neighbours. He walks on three legs despite having four of them, always poos miles away from the bin and has more of a temper than a TP bouncer on a Wednesday, but I’ve come to really appreciate this time with him.

I was struggling a little with my anxiety when I first started walking Toffee, despite having amazing friends and enjoying my course. Walks with him gave me a sense of calmness and a space where I was not alone but also didn’t have to socialise. He made me feel confident even just leaving the house on days when I didn’t feel like it and eventually became part of my friendship group! My mates sometimes join me on walks and always say that they wish they’d known about BorrowMyDoggy sooner – as well as all the cute, green spaces we found doing it. 

Walking Toffee was something that I really looked forward to this year as well, serving as a welcome break from dissertation stress that both my friends and I took advantage of. I got some exercise, some sun, and some time away from my room, all while walking a precious little gem who would otherwise also be stuck at home. Now that I’m graduating, he’s honestly one of the things I’m going to miss the most about Exeter.