Finding resources to help you spoil your big dog by Nicole Feliciano
There are big dogs and then there are BIG dogs. Take the Newfoundland; these dogs regularly reach a height of 28 inches and weights of 150 pounds. Mastiffs, the heaviest dog breed in the world, can top 200 pounds. Forget what you know about Yorkies, Pugs and Chihuahuas. These giant dogs eat differently, play differently, and think differently. But just like wee dogs, there are casts of dog owners who are simply crazy about these giants.
How do these pet parents celebrate their dogs? One way is by forming alliances with fellow dog lovers. Stop by the BigDogsPorch community forum (www.bigdogsporch.com) at any time of the day and you'll be sure to get your fill of mighty dogs. There are currently 250 members who log on to BDP to make friends, share pictures, and oftentimes get things off their chests. Here's a recent post from Traveltmrn, a member who has apparently had it with the inane comments:
It just kills me when I am walking Daisy. People will ask if she is a pit bull, or what kind of dog is she. When I tell them she is an English Mastiff puppy the response is always the same. "Ya know, they get really big." It makes me crack up. Like do these people think I don't know that and they are letting me in on some big secret.
Big dog owners also love to spoil their pets. But finding fashions and treats for Mastiffs, Great Danes and the like is no small task. Karma Charms (www.karma-charms.com), an online dog boutique founded in 2008, hopes to give owners a chance to properly pamper their pets.
Karma Charms co-owner Ang Armstrong has made it her mission to find accessories, big dog beds, gourmet dog treats and other goodies that are just right for big dogs. "Being an enormous canine is hard enough, and every hard-working dog deserves things that are beautiful, tasteful, fashionable, classy, fun and unique, while still being durable and tough," says Ang.
Ang, 25, has a Great Dane named Nee, who helps her in the quest for wonderful items. Besides being a dashing companion, Nee earns his keep by rigorously testing everything intended for the Karma Charms site. According to Ang, Nee puts a lot of wear and tear on his toys and accessories. "In the first two years of his life, he chewed through $400 in collars," says Ang.
One of Ang's favorite finds (that also passed the Nee test) is the Martingale collar. Built to last, this type of collar design comes in a wide variety of fashionable colors and prints. Karma also facilitates special orders on collars, the largest being a 34" for a Mastiff.
For our large furry friends, finding an indestructible toy is a tall task. To withstand the demands of gigantic jaws, many owners resort to using old tires. Stuffed toys and tennis ball don't stand a chance with these big guys and gals. Ang scours the nation to find relatively indestructible toys. Her pick is the Goughnuts toy (to date the only chew toy that meets their standards).
Alas, even with all her searching, Ang shares a common complaint of the big dog community: The lack of fashion. There aren't cute sweaters, coats or outfits in these XXL sizes.
Besides preening and playing, large pooches love to travel. BigDogsWelcome.com is a web site that specializes in finding perfect lodging for these oversized tourists.
BigDogsWelcome.com compiles big dog friendly hotels, motels, B&Bs, and inns. Let's say you want to travel to Wyoming to enjoy the great outdoors. Log on to the web site and you'll find The Sassy Moose Inn located in Jackson Hole. Pets are welcome to lounge in the log cabins or hang out by the hot tub after a long hike. The site also has a comprehensive listing of dog parks (such as the Merry Spring Nature Center in s Maine) throughout the US.
Big dog lovers think their dogs are simply the most magnificent. Listen to what Monique, another member from BigDogsPorch.com, had to say:
I love how 85 lbs of dog feels when my girl lays down literally on top of my feet when I'm sitting in a chair reading or watching the TV. I love how it feels when I sit on the floor and she lets me lean against her. I love those big, wet, sloppy kisses that in one swipe cover you in drool from your chin up to your forehead.