“A dog’s life” is a phrase meaning a “wretched existence .”* I beg to differ.
We are in the process of adopting a puppy. A puppy who will be brought into our home with the same fanfare and preparation that would normally greet an infant of the human persuasion. We have been looking at baby blankets (because we want to give the dog something soft for its crate that carries out scent), purchased baby gates, researched food (which if you buy organic for yourself and give no thought to what is in your dog’s food I highly recommend you do some reading on the subject), and have purchased toys, collars, and leashes. We have read “The Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook” which is the canine equivalent to “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Names have been discussed and debated. I have scoured Ebay for dog crates, looked at Orvis for dog safety restraints (for the car) as well as portable nylon crates, and have even planned an idyllic summer road trip to visit my grandmother and allow our puppy-to-be the ability to splash around in Lake Michigan. This is going to be one pampered pooch.
And my pup will not be alone in her lap of luxury, in fact the lengths that my husband and I are willing to go to for our “fluffy ball of love” might be considered down right poverty level by some standards. According to BusinessWeek, “Americans now spend $41 billion a year on their pets—more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world. That’s double the amount shelled out on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years, according to Packaged Facts, a consumer research company based in Rockville, Md. That puts the yearly cost of buying, feeding, and caring for pets in excess of what Americans spend on the movies ($10.8 billion), playing video games ($11.6 billion), and listening to recorded music ($10.6 billion) combined.”** If you take the time to do a little online shopping you can easily see how that much money can be spent. I found dog beds that cost $1300 and marble bowls for $360 (they put my $24 Pottery Barn dog bowls to shame). If you are in the market for a pet psychologist they can be commissioned for the same hourly cost as a human therapist. And training, well that’s not as simple and inexpensive as buying a book these days; for the low, low cost of $600 you can have Bark Busters come into your home for about 6 weeks of one-on-one help with your four legged friend. One only has to see a chihuahua residing in a designer bag on Paris Hilton’s arm to know that there are people in this world with the disposable income and questionable sense required to spend that kind of money. But then again, who am I to talk? Who knows what I would do with millions of dollars in the bank.
And so while the sad reality is that not every dog is given the comfort of a loving home, there are more and more dogs and cats that are living a very comfortable existence. I would say for the majority, living a “dog’s life” is really not a bad way to go.
* Source: wordreference.com, The Collins English Dictionary
** Click The Pet Economy for the BusinessWeek article in its entirety.