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For many of us, our dogs are our children. Furry children who have never been compelled to draw a mural on their bedroom wall in permanent marker. And the line between loving and spoiling our fur kids can often become so blurred that you don't even realise when we're guilty of it ourselves. So! I've decided to make this handy dandy 5 step guide to help you determine if you're a responsible Rover owner or a pooch pamper offender. (spoilers, I'm 100% the latter).

1. Your dog sleeps on your bed

Some people like to begin each day with an anxiety inducing alarm blaring from their smart phone. Others will sprint out of bed and go for a 5K run before breakfast (those crazy kids...). But if you're a dog lover, which I know you are, you probably awake from your much needed slumber to a mouth full of butt fluff and a tongue in your ear. Now you may be thinking, did I drink too much at that furry convention last night? Not this time. You my friend, have a dog.

Not only does your dog sleep on the bed, but they probably have their own side don't they? And I bet you a bag of Smackos that their side of the bed somehow magically grows in size over the course of the night resulting in you waking up to find yourself precariously teetering on the edge of the mattress like Humpty Dumpty moments before his great fall. Meanwhile ol' Fido is spread eagle on his back dreaming of fire hydrants without a care in the world.

Now you may be thinking "hey wait a minute, I DO NOT allow my dog on the bed!". Well that's great! Stand your ground! Show them who's boss! But ummm.... what about that $500 orthopedic, memory foam filled, allergen free, sheepskin topped luxury dog bed you have beside the bed? Are we just not going to talk about that? Don't worry, your secret is safe with me ;)

2. Your dog has a bigger wardrobe than you

Ruby Rufus. Vanderpump. Rororir. Moshiqa. No I haven't had a stroke, these are all high end designer labels catering towards only the most discerning fashion forward individuals. But you won't be seeing them on the runways of Milan anytime soon, because these brands cater specially to canines. Yes that's right, even dogs have better dress sense than me.

Now you may not have these brands specifically in your collection but I'm willing to bet your dog isn't left wanting and has an outfit on hand to suit any occasion. In fact they may even have their own dedicated closet to house their vast array of coats, collars, boots and bandanas ensuring they always look their dapper best. Meanwhile you're desperately digging between your couch cushions trying to scrounge up a few bucks to buy a pair of underwear from Kmart that have only the necessary number of holes present.

3. You plan your trips around your dog

So maybe you've got a day off work and your friends want to meet for coffee in the city. Or perhaps your fur impaired significant other wants to whisk you away for a romantic weekend in tropical paradise. Sounds pretty great righ

t? Well for most people it is, but for dog obsessed crazies like you and I, we have some concerns.

Firstly, this cafe.... is it dog friendly? Will water bowls be provided? Can you ensure this establishment's 'puppuccino' is low fat because as you know, Princess Furrypants is trying to watch her figure. And this weekend away? Well that sounds great honey! Just a few questions though. Did you book a seat on the plane for the dog? Will the sand temperature at the beach this time of year be optimal for delicate paw pads? Do you think you'll be comfortable sleeping out in the car while Cujo and I share the king sized bed? All very important questions requiring even more important answers when you're a dog mum or dad.

4. You have conversations with your dog

Now I'm not talking about your standard "sit, stay, roll-over, stop eating the couch". I'm talking about having full blown conversations with your dog..... in public.... in front of humans. If you're like me, you don't think twice venting to them about 'that Karen at work' or singing them one of the five songs you made up about them that day. And why? Because they're the best listeners!

You'll never hear a dog give you a disinterested "uh huh" while mindless scrolling TikTok or shout "you're not my real mum!" after they've been reprimanded about peeing on the cat again. With that said, if they start replying to you in full sentences, it may be time to seek help. I highly recommend my therapist Dr. Jackson. If you tell him I sent you, he'll give you a discount. He's a Golden Retriever.

5. Your phones camera roll is full of photos of them

How annoying is that little pop up that constantly appears on your phone telling you that your storage is full? Do you think it may have something to do with the 11 thousand photos you've taken of Rex over the past 12 months because you thought he "looked cute that day"? Possibly. Will you be deleting any of these images? Nope! Besides, there are much less important things you can delete to clear up some space on your phone such as some phone numbers from your address book. And let's face it, how often do you REALLY call grandma?

Now phone photos are one thing, but then you have the pet parents who take things to the next level and seek out a professional pet photographer. Yes, that's right! Shameless self promotion time! Professional dog photographers like myself have all the equipment, experience and let's not forget, the tastiest treatos available to help you achieve the type of images and wall art you've always dreamed of.

Sure, it's not for everyone and some of my favourite photos of past pets were taken with a Nokia 1100 in a dark room with my thumb over the lens. But if it's something you've been considering, I highly recommend reaching out to your local pet photographer for more information or a free consult. Phone snapshots are valuable and forever important, but beautiful images of your furry best friend created with the help of a professional, those are a treasure.


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