A recent survey suggested that there are some people who prefer sharing their bed with their dogs to their partners. The Japanese have taken what some might say is a logical step further, with many of them claiming to prefer pets to parenthood. And so, with no offspring to spoil, they have developed a love for pampering their precious pooches.
Being Japanese, they are not used to doing things by halves. Such is their enthusiasm for their new role that to people who have never developed a rapport with Rover or a bond with Benjy it might seem they have gone barking mad as they seek to provide all that is best in pet-dom.
Designer clothes? Wardbrobes full of them. Photo opportunity? Not so much as a ‘paws’ for thought! Massage? Tummy-tickling with extras. Health spa? Japanese dog owners spend a fortune on swimming lessons, bubble baths, aromatherapy, yoga, mud packs, manicures – and occasionally they splash a little out on themselves as well! Going away? Forget the local kennels – book your four-legged friend into a top dog hotel.
And when the time comes for the tail-wagging apple of your eye to be transported to that great doggy heaven in the sky you can send him – or her – on their way with a deluxe funeral complete with Buddhist ceremonial.
Having digested all this it will come as no surprise for you to learn that there are more pets in Japan than children!
And that could turn out to be a big bone of contention in the not too distant future.