Pampered pups and manicured mutts are the focus of a new documentary on BBC about a dog salon in Wales. Barking Mad: The Welsh Dog Spa debuted on the network on Monday, September 7 and featured some insane antics like dog dating, canine hair extensions, and ridiculous outfits. The star of the show is Leanne Couch, who owns Mucky Pups grooming spa and boutiques in Chepstow and Cardiff.
Couch admits that she has spent tens of thousands of pounds spoiling her 12-year-old Maltese terrier Lucy. The three-part series goes behind the scenes of her business to show that other dog-obsessed pet parents go to the same extreme. It is narrated by Elis James, a Welsh comedian, and airs on Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. on the BBC One network.
I know the United States is a nation of dog lovers, but this certainly takes canine pampering to an entirely different level. Couch spoke about people’s affection for their pets, and how it can even lead to a different type of love in some cases. At a time when many critics have been quoted saying that reality television is getting out of control, I’d have to say I agree with them in this instance.
Couch, who paints her face and does her hair to make herself look like a dog on the documentary, says that it is her mission to spread puppy love to owners and their canine companions through a Valentine’s Day event that was the center of Barking Mad: The Welsh Dog Spa. She described the event as Wales’ first speed-dating experience for dogs. It even featured a doggy disco.
Lisa, a regular at Mucky Pups, talked about her canine obsession on this week’s installment of the documentary. She says that she has an entire drawer full of clothes for her shih tzu including a raincoat, Halloween costumes, and even a Father Christmas outfit for the holiday season. It was Lisa’s pup that got hair extensions for the speed dating event. A dog has to look her best, you know!
Surprisingly to me, Couch’s business is quite the success story with over 4,000 clients on the books. She started the business after wondering to herself if other dog parents would be willing to spend as much on their canine companions as she does on hers. Apparently a lot of them would. The doggy spa offers a variety of treatments, from a spoonful of conditioner courtesy of the Mary Puggins remedy to the top model “Claudia Schniffer” look. Mucky Pups also features a “bark”-ery and a café where customers and their fur babies can socialize and enjoy the company of like-minded pet parents.
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I would describe myself as an average dog owner. It certainly costs me thousands of dollars every year to care for our families two dogs, but nowhere near tens of thousands. I cannot imagine spending that much money on my pets. We have two dogs, two cats, two hamsters, and two rabbits and we still don’t spend anywhere near $10,000 a year on all of their supplies.
My personal opinion is that this over-the-top lifestyle doesn’t really offer a dog a great quality of life. I’m not knocking anyone that chooses to pamper their pets in this way, but I just can’t imagine that dogs enjoy going to speed dating events or being stuffed into countless outfits. Dogs are active creatures by nature, at least most of them are. They like to run, play, and have freedom. Puppy playdates are one thing (and definitely an activity that most dogs enjoy), but trying to develop a love life for your pet is just a little too extreme for me.