Is your dog no longer a cute puppy? PuppySwap says trade it in

Is your dog no longer an adorable youngster? Want to get a breed that's trending? A different kind of website has a message for you.

Michael Franco
Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for CNET and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.
Michael Franco
2 min read

Out with the old, in with the new! Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

Few things beat the unconditional love from the ball of fluff and fun that is a puppy. But then, alas, the critter grows up and those floppy ears and oversize paws and that charming lack of coordination all fade and you're stuck with just another dog. A website called PuppySwap has an idea for you: Just trade your grown dog in for another puppy! There are swap services for everything from housing to Lego sets, why not pets?

Sounds great, right?

No, I didn't think so either. And it's likely that most people who visit PuppySwap.ca won't be too fond of the idea either -- and that's exactly the point.

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PuppySwap.ca is an ironic website launched by the Toronto Humane Society to bring to light the fact that each year thousands of dogs are turned over to shelters by people who simply weren't in for the long haul.

When you first visit the site, everything seems aboveboard. It's well designed and looks like a legitimate business. There's even a beautifully produced video with lots of inspiring scenes featuring kids and dogs (see below). But then you start to suspect that something's amiss when the voice-over in the video says: "The moment your puppy grows up, becomes a bother or gets less likable, simply log back into your account and swap out your old best friend for a brand-new one."

The process is simple! (And completely fake.) PuppySwap.ca

In case the site actually convinces someone that it's a good idea to trade in dogs continuously, a message pops up when you click on the "Sign Up" button. It says, "PuppySwap isn't real. Unfortunately, pet abandonment is. Over 180,000 animals enter Canadian shelters each year. 40% will never leave. Spread the word -- pet ownership is for life." That's followed by a "More Information" button that leads to more facts about pet abandonment and a link to the Toronto Humane Society's homepage.

It's a clever and well-executed bit of advertising that just might stop someone from getting a puppy without thinking about the long road of responsibility ahead.

(Via Design Taxi)