The Cost of Lassie’s Lavish Lifestyle


Paola Hernandez Olvera, Reporter

When you think of a dog, you usually think of a furry, four-legged animal that barks and loves to cuddle. What you usually don’t think of, is a pampered pooch wearing bows or bowties, getting pedicures, being mistaken as a diva because of its over-the-top hairstyle. All of these amenities cost money, and according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), over $69.51 billion was spent by pet owners for dog products and services in 2017, which is 4 percent more than it was in 2016 at $66.75 billion.

The cause of this significant increase is the rapid upsurge of use of animal pampering services such as grooming, dog hotels, dog daycares or dog parties. Dog owners who pamper their dogs to an extreme are often referred to as “dog parents”, and their dogs are often referred to as “fur babies”. To dog parents, no amount is too high when it comes to making sure their babies’ needs are properly met. According to The Blade, a print and online newspaper, a man in Toledo, Ohio has two small yorkshire terriers, Lulu and Spike, who are spoiled to the max. The terriers’ owner Michael Marsh, who is also the president and chief executive officer of the Fair Housing Center in Toledo, is always accompanied by his two babies. However, the dogs are never on leashes. Instead, they are in the thick-strapped Gucci bag carried on Marsh’s shoulder.

Marsh is not alone when it comes to the amount of money he spends on his pups. According to Business Insider, a financial and business news website, a survey given to over 1,000 pet owners determined that owners spent an average of $126.19 each month on pets. Although many cannot afford pampering their pets, many wish they could. AP English Literature teacher, Dr. Marilyn Bland, owns a four-year-old yellow Labrador retriever named Prince. Although Prince is a service dog, he still has the same basic needs as any other pooch.

“I’ve had Prince for two and a half years,” Bland said. “I got Prince from a training school for guide dogs, Guide Dogs for the Blind, where he was trained for two years before. I then had to train with him, so we could get used to each other.”

According to, an online dog training reference guide, a guide dog costs approximately $50,000 to breed, raise, train and match to a person with vision loss. Guide Dogs for the Blind, however, always provides dogs free of charge to people who can benefit from their partnership, like Bland. With training costs paid for, Bland has one less expense to worry about.

“I usually get Prince the basics,” Bland said. “I buy food, some treats, a lot of toys, blankets, brushes and some other basic things. He’s not spoiled in the sense that I spend a lot of money regularly on him. He’s just spoiled in the fact that he gets to go everywhere I go.”

Bland estimates that she spends an average of $80 per month on Prince, non including regular veterinary check ups. Bland says that she spends an average of $250 on veterinary expenses each time she makes a visit.

“The amount of money I spend on him is a lot,” Bland said. “I really would prefer to not spend much more on him than particularly needed. I also can’t spoil him because of the fact that it might affect the way he acts and the way he helps me get around. He has to stay focused and attentive the whole time we are on the move, for my safety and his.”

Although Bland decides to not spoil Prince, his name speaks for itself. Bland says that when they are at home, he gets to do whatever he likes, almost as if he was the prince of the house.

“Prince really helps me get places and do things that I probably would not be able to do with the same ease otherwise,” Bland said. “I would not pamper or spoil Prince, because of how much it would cost. However, he gets to play with his toys at home, sleep in his bed, and roam the house as he pleases. He is really a special dog.”

Like Bland, Junior Heather Cortezar and her family spend money on dog necessities. Cortezar has four dogs by the names of Lucky, Lily, Princess and Luna. According to Cortezar, the two Rottweilers, Yorkie and Chihuahua are only spoiled to an extent. Her family spends about $500 on the four dogs each year on basic necessities.

“Lucky, Lily, Luna and Princess are spoiled but there’s a limit,” Cortezar said. “Normally they get dog food but whenever they’re being good, they know that they’ll get meat or other types of cooked food. They’re outside dogs but they get to come inside once in a while if they behave.”

Whether or not Cortezar would spoil her dogs even more, is clear- she wouldn’t.

“I think those who spoil their dogs so much are just extra,” Cortezar said. “There has to be a limit on how you spoil your dog, just like there’s limits to everything.”