Pampered Dog Lifestyles

From Yorkshire Terriers to Great Danes, dogs throughout the country are experiencing a boon of unprecedented pampering.

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Fit for a king
There's a lot of bling on the market for spoiled pups, such as Swarovski crystal name tags and Hermes collars, but some people take doggie stuff to the next level, like houses for dogs — no, not the plastic ready-made shacks that you can order online these are real houses. Michelle Pollak, owner of luxury doghouse manufacturer La Petite Maison, started out building fancy playhouses for kids and took a suggestion to make doghouses as a joke, but the idea took off. Even model Rachel Hunter's dog enjoys one of Pollak's fancy dog abodes.

"They're almost identical to how you'd build a house," Pollak says. "They have all of the same building materials. For example, if were doing a Spanish hacienda, we would use terra cotta floors and the same kind of roof tiles. We do air conditioning, heat, interior design, and some of the houses have chair rails, recessed lighting, lanterns, chandeliers and dog furniture." The doghouses average from $6,000 to $15,000.

Bob Bruner has a La Petite Maison creation for his six dogs: a Victorian-style, scaled-down mansion painted like his own home, complete with a porch and bay windows. It even has its own pond and waterfall in front, air conditioning and heat, and has country music piped in through a speaker system.

"Our Cairn Terrier Skeeter has arthritis, and its bad for her to sit on the cold ground in the wintertime," Bruner says. "I think that this dog home has extended her life by making her more comfortable."

Once you have your expensive doghouse, you have to furnish it with something, and the average doggie bed won't do.

Paul Mankelow, owner of Pluscious Pet Decor, makes elaborate dog beds that delight the rich and famous, including stars like Uma Thurman, who ordered one for her dog. The beds run from $470 to $1,000.

Originally, Mankelow thought that the niche for these beds was wealthy people with their little dogs in massive houses. As it turns out, "these are not the people I'm selling the beds to," Mankelow says. Instead, the beds are going to people of modest income who adore their dogs and like the idea of having a piece of furniture in their house just for the dog.

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