To Be Extreme or Not? How Extreme Are You When it Comes to Your Dog?

To be a dog owner these days is quite different than it was when I was growing up. I don’t even know if calling myself a dog owner is the correct term anymore.

Am I a pet parent? A pet guardian?

I don’t know. I guess I’m all of them.

Regardless, of what I am called, today more and more people take being a dog owner a lot more serious than years past. Dogs are no longer viewed as a pet, but more as a family companion and these family companions are treated like any other member of the family, if not better in some cases.

For some dog owners their life revolves around their dog. They don’t leave home without their dog. They take their dog on vacation, or don’t go on vacation because the thought of leaving their dog for more than 24 hours is devastating. They come home everyday for lunch just to let their dogs outside, because being alone for more than 4 hours is just unacceptable.

Opps! I just described myself!

I admit, when it comes to certain things with my dogs things I am  am little bit extreme.

I have not taken a vacation in over 5 years, in fear that my dogs will miss me too much.  I come home everyday for lunch to show my dogs some love. I do leave home without my dogs, but not for long.

However some people, not me thank you,  take being extreme to another level.

Chihuahua With NecklaceMany people give their fur-kids the best of the best.

They cook for their dog, they get their dog massages, they take them to see physics, they have birthday parties for them, they buy them expensive jewelry, some dogs even have a full wardrobe.  I have read that some people Dog With Moneyeven leave their dog millions of dollars after they have passed away!

Boy would I like to be that dog!


I am not the extreme of extremes but I know many people who are.

How about you? Are you an extreme dog owner? How extreme? Do you know anyone who takes being an extreme pet owner to a new level? Do think there is anything wrong with being extreme?

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  1. Chris Williams says:

    I’m not an extreme pet owner. I have two outside dogs. I enjoy playing with them, I keep the fleas, ticks, and worms off of them, and make sure they have a warm, dry place to sleep. I will not, however, ever put them above humans, I will not spend $80 on a bag of dogfood, I will not deprive my family of vacation. Someone else can feed them for a week and they’ll be just fine. Sometimes, I think some pet owners would run passed a baby in the street to save a dog. Ridiculous. And to be quite honest with you, if it came down to my dog needing a $1500 surgery, I would have to weigh my options and probably end up making a very tough decision.


    Minette Reply:

    I would save the kind heart of an animal over a human any day.


    Monica Henderson Reply:

    Dear Minette, like you, I am a little bit extreme. My 1 1/2 year old rescue dog, golden retriever & border collie mix,which my husband (age 70) and I (age 64) renamed “Rusty” is my furry baby. Rusty was a stray and according to the shelter “was in very bad shape” when he was brought in. When we took him home from the shelter, We promised Rusty our unconditional love and protection. We both knew and accepted that adopting Rusty is a lifetime commitment, just as it is when adopting a human child. Six months after we adopted Rusty, My husband became ill with COPD and was rushed to the hospital and after 30 days in ICU he passed away. It has been a year now since my husband’s passing and if not for Rusty, I do not think I would have had the courage to go on living. My life revolves around Rusty. He sleeps in my bed with me. (he used to sleep on my husband’s pillow, until I finally replaced it.) I have a dry eraser board on my fridge to write down the time of day and whether he pees or poops when I take him out, also when picking up his poop, I check color & consistancy (just as a parent of a human baby or toddler in diapers would do.) You can tell if a mammal of any species is health or sick from their poop and how often they poop or pee. Rusty comes with me (always on his leash) when I take out the garbage, rake the leaves, check the mail, etc. I live in the Midwest and it gets VERY cold. Rusty has his own wardrobe for the cold & rains. If I am freezing even with a heavy winter jacket,hat,scarf and gloves on, I would think my Rusty would be too even though his normal body temp is approx 101 degrees F. He also has outfits for the Holidays: Christmas, Halloween, Easter and 4th of July. Rusty also has a set of boots. He wears them only when it VERY cold or freezing rain.I know dogs’ pads are very sensitive & can get frostbite very easy. (I wonder if any human would walk 2-5 minutes or longer in their bare feet in freezing weather.) I am very seldom without Rusty by my side. I do leave him alone to go shopping, doctors, etc. but like you Minette, never more than 4 hours. When I do go shopping, I always end up buying a new toy for Rusty to play with. I would give my life to save my Rusty’s life in a heartbeat. If Rusty would need medical attention or surgery, I would sell everything I own to pay for it. ( wouldn’t any parent do that for their dependant child? ) I do have a will if something were to happen to me and Rusty is included in it. No, there is no inheritance involved. I have just designated who Rusty should live with if I am gone before him. Rusty knows and loves them too, and they love him as well. I too would save the kind heart of an animal over a human any day.


  2. Marty says:

    I suppose, by your standards, I am an “extreme pet owner” (I do prefer the terms parent and guardian, as I don’t think it is ethical to claim ownership over another life).

    I have 3 dogs – 1 lab, 1 lab mix, and a jack russell/chihuahua mix. The little one does have clothes – she is small and gets cold quickly. My dogs do get massages – I am a massage therapist, and my dogs & I run and play hard; we walk/run for a minimum of 1.5 hours every day, usually closer to 2 (and they still have extra energy to burn!), and I know I could use a massage afterward, why would I not expect my pups to feel the same way?

    I even threw my little one a 1st birthday party this year! Holy crap! She does have friends – both human and canine – and though I know she has no concept of what a birthday is, it was fun to get everyone together and just have a party. What’s so bad about socializing?

    My dogs do get high quality food – they are either fed Prey Model Raw (which they prefer) or they get a high protein, low carb, high quality dog food (which they tolerate). Why would you not want to feed the best? How much do you spend on groceries for yourself for the month? $80 a month is not bad in comparison, is it?

    While my pups don’t get to go everywhere with me, I do like to take them when I can. Again, why would you not want to socialize your dog to as many new experiences as possible? It makes for a much more well-rounded dog, who is less fearful, and thereby less likely to over react to new situations. I know this first hand, as my lab has some fear aggression issues from being continually kenneled for the first year of her life, b/c her previous “owner” just wanted a cute puppy, and had no idea what she was getting herself into; as it usually turns out, when she realized she couldn’t handle it, the dog suffered.

    Yes, I take my duties as dog guardian very seriously! I have taken on the responsibility of providing for another life – they depend on me for everything — food, protection, shelter, etc — why would I not strive to give them the best that I possibly can? To not do so, in my opinion, makes you undeserving of their love and trust.


  3. Carolyn says:

    I do not believe myself to be extreme, although I do take the responsibility of having my little chihuahua very seriously. I have always felt very close and attached to my pets, but this one is extra special. I am in my 60’s now, and when I lost my daughter to MS a few years back, I adopted this little gal and she helped me through a time that just can’t be described. I do have outdoor clothing for her when the weather is cold and wet, she is a short hair, and gets cold. I do feed her quality food because I want her to be healthy and feel good. I get her to the vet for regular checkups and make sure that she isn’t infested with parasites. She sleeps in the bed with me, and follows me every step I take throughout the house. I leave her long enough to go grocery shopping, and to church, but I do not leave her for more than 4-5 hours max. She came from a bad situation from a puppy mill, and so we were both hurting when I got her, and I guess I consider Lulu to be my child, I tell everyone she is a “fur-person” and she is my “baby”. If I am extreme, then I am surely happy with it, and have no intentions of changing. All that being said, I do realize she is a dog, and I would not place her in a higher position than a human being in importance, although I admit I love her a lot better than some people I know. But I do believe in God, and therefore I try to keep things in perspective. May you be blessed this day, and I do enjoy the information you give us on here. 🙂


  4. Sharie Lavell says:


    Thank you ever so much for your informative and enjoyable posts. You have helped my assistance Golden Doodle, Cameron, and me to such a great extent.

    Please know that your spirit is obvious and transferred. All is so greatly helpful!

    I wish that you were close to the San Diego area so that we could get some of your expertise personally for some behavior brush up.

    Sharie Lavell

    P.S. A while back, I sent a long note of appreciation, but I don’t think it went through because it was an old post.


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