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Published:March 21st, 2011 11:42 EST
The Lifestyle of the Pampered Pet

The Lifestyle of the Pampered Pet

By Donna Cavanagh

My daughter played travel softball. When nationals came around, we would always board our German Shepherd, Miss Muffie, at The Spa.  The place wasn`t really called The Spa, but the other parents from the team nicknamed it that because they were jealous of our pooch`s accommodations. 

The spa was wonderful.  Miss Muffie had a private, air-conditioned room with piped in music.  We got to choose the music. Since she was of German descent, I opted for Mozart and Beethoven.  I thought she would feel more at home with them. The spa had everything that a dog and, truthfully, most humans would want. There was a built-in pool on the premises, plus they had a gourmet chef and massage therapist on staff. Dogs participated in both outside and indoor organized play activities to facilitate group play and encourage camaraderie amongst the guests. I am not making that part up; that is what the brochure said.

So, while we were sitting in ball fields in 100-degree weather, scarfing down hot dogs and pretzels, my dog was at the spa being treated to steak and broiled chicken in her air conditioned suite.  And the bill for all this pampering:  Well, let`s just say my daughter`s private school tuition seemed like a bargain after a week of dog pampering.

When my second mutt, LuLu, came along, I sent both girls to the spa, but I cut down on the extras so my family and I could afford to do things - like eat. Finally, after Miss Muffie went to that big backyard in the sky and the softball years were over, we decided to use a pet sitter service for the times we had to travel without LuLu and our newest girl beast, Frankie.

Many people through the years mocked my pampering of my pooches, but I am not a rarity when it comes to spoiling my animals. My chiropractor has Stanky the pig. In his prime, Stanky weighed 220 pounds. He was supposed to be a pot belly pig and reach a maximum weight of about 40 pounds, but obviously something went very awry. At one time, Stanky thought he was a dog. He would be in the backyard and see and hear the dogs from next door. They would bark, and Stanky would bark. Now, he no longer thinks he is a dog. Now, Stanky just thinks he is human.

Stanky has his own room, and he gets not only good table food but a special mix of pig food that my chiropractor has made and shipped to her house.  Where my dogs think they are the babies in our family, Stanky thinks he is the man of the house, and he does not like other men coming into his territory. In fact, Stanky does not like my chiropractor to date at all.
 
I guess it is fair to say that Stanky is a little grouchier now than in past years. He is 16. I am not sure what pig 16 is in human years, but suffice it to say, he is old and has a somewhat entitled attitude.  He goes to a piggie camp when my chiropractor has to travel. There he gets his own suite. Some pigs have more dorm-like accommodations with straw beds, but he has his own real bed and blanket, special pig food and hours of down time in the meadow. 

Pet pampering goes beyond vacation accommodations and into other aspects of daily life. My chiropractor has also paid for the services of an animal communicator to find out what makes Stanky grumpy. Apparently, he gets headaches which can throw off his mood, but on the positive side, the communicator was able to tell my chiropractor that Stanky loves peanut butter and the color purple.

Another friend of mine used to take her cat to an animal psychologist for her emotional issues. She would pay $75 per hour to hear that her cat had anxiety and self-confidence problems. The cat got a prescription for valium. I would have been shocked by this, but my old vet was a believer in legalizing marijuana for the purpose of helping animals in pain. I have to admit that this was where I drew the line. If anyone was going to get legalized pot, it was going to be me!

I guess it is safe to say that many of us treat our animals better than we do some of our own family members. Is it bad? No. My pets give me companionship and joy and on cold nights when my husband won`t let me put my cold feet underneath him, my dogs warm my feet. So, for that reason alone, they deserve to be pampered.
 
I think if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I am going to sign up to be a dog when my time comes. However, with my luck, instead of getting placed in a pampering family, I might wind up in some third world country where dog meat is the most common food staple. Perhaps, I should re-think this and consider coming back as something higher up on the food chain.