Let’s Talk: Are You an “Extreme” Dog Lover?

A TV documentarian is seeking dog owners whose lives revolve around their dogs. We thought it would be a great conversation to have on Dogster! (Psst. She'll be looking at your comments!)

Maria Goodavage  |  Apr 12th 2012


Most Dogster readers are head-over-paws in love with their dogs. How could we not be? Our dogs know us better than other people do sometimes, and they love us unconditionally, know when we need extra TLC, don’t talk back, and never bicker over the remote.

Many of our readers treat their dogs to the best of everything. Their dogs sleep in their beds, get homecooked meals (or home uncooked meals, for the raw set), go everywhere – even high-end vactions – with them, and get regular massages, acupuncture or herbal treatments. Some dogs have their own psychics. Some have armoires full of clothes. Tons of regular readers’ dogs have their own personal Dogster page. A few write poems, stories, or even little books.

Plenty among us spare absolutely no expense for veterinary care – even if they can barely get by financially themselves. I remember one more well-off woman who spent $55,000 to keep her dog alive one more year. She didn’t regret it for a second.

To some readers, dogs are their kids. They’re not like their kids. They are their kids.

I’ve written about this before, and have had fingers wagging at me saying, “Dogs are not our kids! They’re way better!” I’ve heard from hundreds of readers over the years who live for their dogs, just as some people do for their human children. The dogs are the focal point of their lives.

As recipients of this outpouring of parental-style love, dogs have birthday parties, complete with personalized cakes by dog bakers, they go on playdates, get lessons (like surfing, acting, and dancing), and may even participate in a canine wedding.

Some owners change their lives to work at home – or not to work at all – so their dogs don’t have to be home alone all day. And those who must leave the house for work can put their dog in doggy daycares that rival top child daycare settings, and cost far more. Want your dog to take a swim in the daycare’s pool while you’re gone, or to get her Reiki session in? Just add it to the list of ala carte services.

I’ve been deep in this world for a long time, observing the growing tide of dogs who are treated like kings, queens, sons, daughters, and best of all – just beloved dogs. The idea of being treated like a dog? In so many cases, it’s a pretty good thing to be treated like these days. And when people shake their head and say, “It’s a dog’s life,” I wonder if they know just how good so many dogs have it.

To many Dogster readers, none of what I’ve written about here is over the top. It’s just how it is when you love a dog so much. It’s what you do for your best friend. But we bet that not all their friends and family see it that way.

So now we get to the conversation part of this post! Are you someone who fits any or all of the above descriptions of people who so love their dogs that others might consider them radical, dotty, or even a bit obsessive? What do you do for your dog that might put you in this category? Do you sometimes find yourself wondering if you really are over the top, or do you just thumb your noses at others, knowing you are absolutely doing the right thing for your canine companion?

We were contacted by a television documentarian who’s putting together some ideas for a TV series in development that looks at what many would consider some of the more “extreme” dog lovers out there. It got me thinking that this would be a great topic for a Let’s Talk.

Please tell us about your experiences with this, and if you’re OK with the documentarian contacting you, let us know. She will be looking at the comments and putting together a wish list of people she might want to reach out to. If you’d prefer to email her privately, you can reach Ramelle Mair at dogtv01@gmail.com. But don’t just email her. Let’s get a conversation going here. It’s a fascinating topic, and I know a lot of you will have plenty to say about it!

Shutterstock images: Dog princess, dog party