Man’s best friends turned into ‘prima donna’ puppies

By Gail Katherine Ziegler
November 18, 2005

Brandon Edwards

When Dr. Angie Corbo, a professor of English and communication, gets home from the grocery store, her dog, Murray, immediately starts rifling through bags to find the treat he knows that his mommy brought home for him. When he finds something he thinks is his, or maybe just wants, he takes it to the living room to enjoy his special treat.

The American Pet Product Manufacturer Association estimates Americans will spend $35.9 billion on their pets in 2005. Big name companies want a piece of that pie and are producing all kinds of pet products. Sixty-two percent of American homes have pets.

Americans have the money to spend on their pets and they are spoiling them rotten. Hotels are becoming more pet friendly to accommodate their doggy-loving guests with a turn-down service including a good-night treat. Some hotels even keep a doggy masseuse on staff, according to the APPMA.

Camp Canine in California offers many amenities for pets as a country club and spa for dogs and cats. They offer nature walks on a leash for $55 per walk. Doggy day-care is available for owners feeling guilty over working too much.

When the weather starts to get cold, and snow is on the ground, Murray gets wrapped up in a coat before he goes out. He’s only 20 pounds and gets cold quickly. Even though he doesn’t always like it, he gets a sweater put on before he goes outside. Corbo said, “He sees me with the sweater in my hands and runs away.”

Colleen Small, a Cabrini marketing major, puts her Jack Russell, Tippy, in sweaters for the winter. Tippy also gets warm towels from the dryer after a bath. Tippy got dressed up as a puppy, when Small was 10 years old. Tippy was subject to doll outfits, Halloween costumes and stroller rides. This may not fall under the category of spoiling but Small was onto something.

Dog and pet fashion is an industry that just keeps on growing. Target provides Isaac Mizrahi fashion: $9.99 for a pet polo shirt, $14.99 for a trench coat. They also offer a pet massager for $11.99 or people and pet matching umbrellas for $29.99.

Pets are also traveling in style. provides a faux crocodile dog carrier for $350. They also make collars with bling for $45.99 and Carob Dog Truffles for $11.50 a pop.

Home accents have gone to the dogs; dog bedframes and personalized bowls are available at Dogs don’t eat out of a bowl that doesn’t say Sparky on it anymore.

Mary Ramoli, a Cabrini student, spoils her dog, Kaya, rotten with gourmet treats. The Bone Appetite K-9 Bakery and Boutique in Wayne on Lancaster Ave provides gourmet dog treats and other items to spoil pets.

When Murray’s birthday or Christmas rolls around, he gets presents and has even learned to open them himself. If he sees a present under the tree, he assumes it’s for him, and opens it. Corbo said, “It could be a Letterman act someday.”

This year on Dec. 4, pet owners will be able to take their pets to the King of Prussia mall for the first time to get their pictures taken with Santa. Furry Murray, as his parents sometimes call him, has never been professionally photographed, but maybe this year will be the first. Corbo does keep a picture of Murray at the front of her desk for all of her visitors to see. Both Dawn Francis, a professor of English and communication, and Corbo have sent out holiday cards that showcase their special family members, Kayla and Murray.

Grooming isn’t just a shave offers teeth brushing, ear cleaning, hot oil lotion, hot oil treatments, de-skunking and nail-filing. Francis’ husband takes their dog, Kayla, for an entire “Day of Beauty” regularly. Francis said, “Kayla is not much of a fashionista and doesn’t like any frilly clothes.”

If Kayla changes her mind, she might want to know that big designers are coming out with doggy lines. Marc Jacobs released a collection called Bark Jacobs for pets. Louis Vuitton offers dog carriers, collars and leashes.

Bling for pets is a new craze. Fourteen karat gold pendants, chains, rings, earrings and bracelets are available at The jewelry trend seems to be a bit out there for most dog owners at Cabrini. When asked if she would consider some doggy bling, Francis said, “Never. And either would [Kayla].” A little spoiling might be in order. claims that pet owners have lower blood pressure, reduced stress, heart disease prevention, lower health care costs from fewer trips to the doctor and pets can also help fight depression.

Ramoli said of her dog Kaya, “Basically, it’s her world, I just live in it.”

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Posted to the web by Brandon Edwards

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Gail Katherine Ziegler

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