The Doghouses of the Rich and Famous
Typically we don't laugh at people who do crazy things with their dogs -- hey, we're Dogster. These are our people.
But we went from smirking to giggling to outright scoffing at what transpired in America's paper of record last week (that's the New York Times).
Namely, $20,000 doghouses. Some outfitted with air conditioning, heating, carpeting, music systems, and manservants. Well, just kidding on the manservants. But all the other stuff is true, as detailed in "Luxury Doghouses and the Dogs That Couldn't Care Less."
Michelle Pollak of La Petite Maison is one such lady who creates these mini-doghouse-mansions. Her most famous client, Rachel Hunter, spent "more than $16,000" on a Mediterranean-style house for her pet, according to the Times. Good for her. The last thing we spent "more than $16,000" on was college.
Hunter's doghouse, a replica of her own house, is adorned with "hand-painted wallcovering dotted with pawprints and bones" and "wrought-iron light fixtures and terra-cotta flooring." Sounds nice. “Alan had to hand-make every tile of the Mediterranean roof,” Ms. Pollak told the Times, we imagine hauntingly.
Where else can you get such a high-priced doghaus? Rockstar Puppy will let you spend as much as $20,000, according to the Times. On the site, two are listed for $12,000 each, one made especially for JWoww. An "Add to Cart!" button helpfully prompts shoppers under the $12,000 doghouse. Hell, why not.
Not to be outdone, Walmart is selling $4,000 doghouses from the Little Cottage Company. Thank you, Walmart. You win. We will never think of you as a bargain-store again. Good work, everyone.
But the rich and famous aren't the only people getting in on the mini-mansion-doghouses. There's also people who should know better: architects. Actually, we can't really fault this, because at least they're actually building houses. Most architects build elaborate blueprints for 20 years, renovate a bathroom and call it a career. A house that's only 8 square feet total allows them to flex their muscles a bit.
As architect Brian Pickard told the Times: “If I build a doghouse and somebody is anticipating that it’s going to last 10 years in their backyard, it’s different from designing a house that somebody is expecting will last for 50 years. I can be more experimental.”
We admit, we love Pickard's doghouse -- or rather his modernist clarion call to small-animal existing (that's us talking like a big-shot critic). We imagine lying on the porch with our head in the living room and our feet in the grass, spending a few quiet hours enjoying cutting-edge "barkitecture" -- did we forget to mention it's called barkitecture? A bit of advice: Don't tell your parents you're a barkitect.
By now some of you might be wondering: Wait, doghouses? What dog uses a doghouse anymore? Answer: None. At least none who would admit to it in the story.
Not Maggie, who has a Palladian-style mini-mansion to call her own, with Jeffersonian columns that match the columns of her owner's home.
“Maggie’s never been in it," her owner told the Times. "She’s a house dog.” Fair enough.
And not Hugo, either, a French Bulldog who owns an eco-doghouse with a succulent roof (that's a roof made of succulents).
“It’s hard to get a dog to love the doghouse,” Eric McFarland told the Times. “He’d rather be in our bed.”
Which, indeed, is where most dogs are nowadays, or thereabouts. Fifty years ago, dogs used doghouses because it was either that or under the porch or in the derelict car down the street. Dogs used to sleep outside at night -- at least if our '60s sitcoms are any guide. Today we allow our dogs to be where they want to be. And that's with us.