Sunday, April 8, 2012

Woman spends £15,000 a year raising her six bulldogs like children

A dog-loving woman has revealed she spends £15,000-per-year raising her six British bulldogs like children - with their own wardrobes, organic diets and beauty regimes.  

Karen Chamberlain, 49, and partner Peter Dowling, 48, have christened their six bulldogs 'fur kids' and feed them only organic food with daily vitamin supplements.

The dog-mad pair dress their bulldogs, who each have their own wardrobes, in skirts, hats, tiaras and angel wings, and take them out for walks on matching pink leads.

Lady Lola, eight, Princess Tia, six, Baby Gracie, three, and one-year-old pups Angel Star, Scarlet Sky and Lil Belle also use special canine shampoo and beauty products daily.

The pack cost Karen and Peter over £1,225 a month, which equates to a staggering £14,700 a year.

But Karen, the dogs' full-time carer, insists treating the pack like children is 'normal' despite revealing plans to move to a bigger house to cope with more puppies.

She said: 'It's like having six teenage girls really. They can get a bit hyper but if any of them misbehave they get put in the sin bin.

'I've bought them all special beds, but they still insist on coming and sitting on the sofa with us. I had to buy a new sofa this week so we can all fit on.

'Bathtime is mental in this house. I aim for two in the bath at one time. They have doggie shampoo and then a blow dry.

'They eat raw organic foods and instead of doggie treats which have lots of rubbish in them they get dried apricots which they love.

'You are what you eat. If you have children you make sure they eat healthy foods and look after them so it is the same with my dogs.

'Every spare penny goes on the dogs. They are my fur kids. This is our family and normal life for us.' 

Karen and painter and decorator Peter, from Kennington, Kent, got their first bulldog in 2000 and their pack has increased ever since.

They care for their bulldogs like children and give them unusual treats such as organic biscuits, fresh honey and goats milk, and parsley to cure bad breath.

Karen gives the dogs salmon oil or omega oil every day, multi-vitamins every three days and cod liver oil every week to keep their coats shiny.

The bulldogs' eyes, ears and noses are washed with fragrance-free wipes every morning and they are given a bath with puppy shampoo weekly before being taken to the groomer every month.  

The dogs also have their own bedroom, which is filled with tailor-made outfits and accessories sourced from special designer canine shops and baby stores.

The British bulldogs all have their own leather beds with Egyptian cotton quilts and receive individually wrapped birthday presents and Christmas stockings of over £100 a year.

The couple spend £200 a month on organic meat and fresh organic vegetables to make the dogs' food as well as £200 on vitamins and supplements.

They shell out £100 a month on grooming products, £75 on clothes and tiaras and £200 on dog insurance.

The remaining money, totalling £1,225 a month, is spent on toys, blankets, treats, baby wipes, dog sitters and expensive vet bills and insurance.

Karen shows her pack at Crufts dog show every year and they have featured in calendars and on cards dressed up in their special outfits.

She added: 'I had two bulldogs, but when I met Pete we kept egging each other on and got more and more.

'It is so hard to give away puppies after we have bred them.

'We do dress our bulldogs up and have fun with them, but they are fit, healthy and happy dogs and I make sure they stay that way.

'Unregistered puppy breeders give this breed of dog a bad name. It makes me cry when I see all the ill and deformed dogs they are trying to sell.' 

Peter added: 'They've got a lovely temperament but they're a bit like a bulldog in a china shop. They will have everything over.

'Hopefully we're going to breed some more but we need to get a bigger place.' 

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