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Can’t buy me love; even your dog knows that

By: Tim Menicutch Telegraph Editor
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I might be barking up the wrong tree here, but I'm more than a little troubled by what seems to be a growing trend among some dog owners. I love pets “ especially dogs “ as much as anybody. For the record, I own a 1-year-old Great Dane pup. He's big and bouncy and gentle as a lamb. And I'm quite fond of him “ when he's not tearing up his sleeping mattress on the back patio or digging a crater-sized hole in the garden. As much as I like Cooper, still I never forget one fact “ he's a dog. It's that simple perspective I think people are losing sight of, otherwise how do you explain Folsom PetSmart's PetsHotel “ luxury suites for dogs “ or Folsom PETCO's Valentine Pet Party scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday? This is the first time we've done the Valentine Pet Party in the Sacramento area, said Chris Szymusik, assistant manager at PETCO in Folsom. But it's been tested in other areas of the country and it has done very well. The highlight of the Valentine's Day bash at PETCO is the Best Kiss Contest. It's based on the cutest kiss between an owner and their dog, Szymusik said. The judges will decide the best kiss. The best kiss my Great Dane can give me is none “ I hate cleaning up the mess. Truth be told, he doesn't want to. But I never turn down a kiss from my kids. Here's the issue. Some people treat their dogs as though they are kids. Mark D'Agostino, owner of pet grooming shop Pampered Pooch in Folsom for 16 years, takes it one step further. A lot of people treat their pets better than their children, he said. D'Agostino believes the reasons are many, but points out dogs are like kids, only better, because they never talk back and they're always happy to see you. Szymusik is of the same belief. Nowadays people treat pets like a part of the family, he said. They treat them like kids. Szymusik said he had an employee who admitted to spending an average of $200 per week on her dog. She bought the dog clothes and everything, he said. For $800 a month, I'm thinking Mercedes convertible, not iconic Gucci fashions for the mutt. We sell pet strollers, handbags to carry pets in and all kinds of pet clothing, D'Agostino said. We sell wedding dresses, tuxedos for the guy dogs and Hawaiian shirts for the honeymoon. It gets even weirder. Saturday's PETCO party offers Valentine's Day cards for owners from their pets with a personalized paw print autograph, a pet cookie decorating activity and groomers who will gladly include a stylish red or pink ribbon to the doggie do. I'm not sure, but I don't think my Great Dane would look good with a ribbon in his hair, but maybe he'd enjoy some of the designer cologne sold at Pampered Pooch. Enough is enough. Listen up. Dogs do not check their Nip˜nTail calendar and wonder what kind of gift they are getting for Valentine's Day, nor any other holiday for that matter. They don't care what day it is. Dogs don't wear clothes. They already have a coat. Dogs really only need one thing “ and that's a little love. And you can't buy that.