... And another thing

I recently saw something to add to the "More Dollars than Sense" department. Mallory, a chocolate Labrador,
Kathy Lilje
May 24, 2010


I recently saw something to add to the "More Dollars than Sense" department.

Mallory, a chocolate Labrador, is the proud resident of doghouse digs that are the envy of canines everywhere.

Her owners, whose names I didn't catch, had a single-car garage, complete with skylights, heating and air-conditioning, built for their pampered pet.

Inside, Mallory has a full-sized platform bed with sheets and pillows, running water and a self-feeding system that the hungry pup can tap into whenever the mood strikes.

If she overindulges, she has an exercise area with a treadmill specially modified so she walk herself without having to deal with street mongrels and stray cats.

A compartmentalized closet holds Mallory's wardrobe, which includes an LLBean-type car coat, a trench coat, a number of sweaters, a party outfit and a yellow rainslicker with four matching boots.

A doggie door leads out to a wooden deck with an in-deck wading pool so she can take a dip whenever she pleases. She also has her choice of an indoor or outdoor shower. I presume someone has to help her with her grooming, but it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that she has her own maid.

With all these luxuries -- oh, I forgot to mention the piped-in music -- it's plain to see Mallory is a true diva of the doggie world -- the first genuine rich bitch.

What motivates someone to spend that much money on a dog?

Who knows? But who am I to judge? We all have our foolish little indulgences.

While shopping last week I was intrigued by the extensive wardrobe selection for dogs at Target. Your pooch can wear faux fur, sequins, lace or leather. There are casual togs, all-weather gear, goth get-ups and formal wear. Macho hunting dogs can wear Woolrich plaid hunting coats or Carhartt-type jackets. Sporty canines can don team colors and logos or tennis whites. With all the camouflage prints, faux buckskins, firemen coats and motorcycle leathers available, a litter of pups could look like the Village People.

But what really got me to thinking about the extremes some pet owners will go to were the puppy clothes. In delicate shades of mint green, yellow, pink and blue, these soft cuddly shirts are clearly the canine version of baby clothes. I heard that perspective pet "parents" are even having puppy showers to welcome their new arrivals.

I'm not making this up.

If this conspicuous flash of green across the check-out stands of America is what pet ownership is all about, then I probably should worry about whether I'm a fit parent for Mr. Zimmerman, my Lab.

The poor dog doesn't have palace of his own. He has a queen-sized bed, but, alas, he has to share it with my husband and me. There are no gourmet meals -- just Beneful, some grapes and an occasional pizza crust. And I won't even mention his favorite source of fresh water. Let's just say it's not Perrier for Pooches.

He seems happy enough with his lot in life though. He gets to chase squirrels, share ice cream cones with the grandkids (mine, not his), and someone is always willing to cuddle with him when he craves human contact.

Which brings me back to Mallory -- the poor little rich girl. Seems to me her owners do not have a canine companion -- just another neighbor.

Her dwelling may be grand, but she's not so much a show dog as a just-for-show dog.

See you next week.