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Hotel for Dogs

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

For a few weeks each year we run a hotel for dogs. In addition to our own two, we board “Crackers” and “Pepper” when my parents are out of town. They get the same care as our dogs – all the dog food they can eat, a heated dog bed in the barn at night and free run of the place during the day so long, as they don’t get caught chasing anything, including cows, horses and the UPS man. As a bonus, if they’re not too smelly, they get to lie on the floorboard in the back seat while we feed each morning. Sounds like a nice set-up for your average canine, right?

On occasion, they’re expected to help move cattle. Pepper takes this job a bit too seriously, leaving us on the verge of having to run her dog food through a blender and teach her to suck through a straw.

Chris recently commented that my dog of  choice, a little red Aussie who answers to “Sundance,” is like living with Little Lord Font La Roy. This got me to wondering, what standard of living can canine companions expect in 2013? I sought out a few statistics to answer my question and rebuke Chris’ status on Sundance. I was a little surprised at my findings and if word gets out around here, I’m sure the dogs will wage a protest.

At the rate we’re going, dogs could be running this country in the not-too-distant future. There are 403,760 registered dogs in the United States, the most of any country. Canada follows in second with a mere 23,068. This doesn’t count the more common mutts and mongrels. Labradors are the most popular followed Chihuahuas, German Shepherds and Shih Tzu. Border Collies rank around 15th. Border Collie or Chihuahua, hmmm?

Despite local accusations that our resident dogs, or one dog in particular, get special treatment, here are three statistics that prove otherwise…

People admit to frequently asking their dogs, “How do you like your food?” In a long-held tradition between dogs and people, we just whistle.

According to PetSmart, 24 percent of all pet owners have, although they’re reluctant to admit it, tasted their pet’s food. The only time this is remotely true around here is when we can save a buck by serving table scraps instead of dog food.

One-third of dog owners buy their dogs toothpaste. 

Sixty-three percent of pet owners buy their dog a present at Christmastime. Combined Americans spend $5 billion on their furry friends, including cats, each Christmas. I have been known to purchase chunks of rawhide around the Holidays, so I guess I’m guilty as charged there.

Thirty-six percent of dogs can expect a birthday present this year.

Sixty-four percent of dogs can expect to appear in their family’s Christmas card.

As for that Hotel for Dogs, I don’t think we’ll be advertising those services commercially anytime soon. One, the cows are against it. Two, we’re not willing to throw in the industry standards of a bath, a private walk, television, clean sheets and a nail job. Plus, Chris said, “Definitely, no.”

Jennifer Vineyard Womack is executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation and a freelance writer. She can be reached at or at 307-351-0730.

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