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5 Ways Your Dog Could Be Living in the Lap of Luxury

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You guys might remember that I have dogs. Three, to be exact (that's Patton in the picture). Paul and I don't have any kids yet, so these dogs are pretty spoiled. I mean, not celebrity-spoiled to the point that I carry them around in purses and buy them Swarovski-studded collars or anything like that, but they do get a lot of our attention. They get fairly frequent trips to the dog park (which is really just as much entertainment for us as it is for them). Ever since the whole pet food scare, they get rather expensive dog food from a specialty store. They don't get to sleep with us, but they do each have their own little plush doggy beds.

The latest is that we are sending them to doggy daycare. Not every single day "“ no, just once to try it out. It's a half day of grooming and a half day of getting to run amok with other dogs. They have free access to both inside and outside, there are agility courses for them to play on and wading pools if it's nice enough outside. There's a mandatory two-hour nap from noon to 2 p.m.

The best part? There's a Web cam. So we can watch our little heathens and see how they behave with others. Expect my productivity at work to plummet dramatically when the dogs are at daycare.

However, despite doggy daycare and the pricey dog food and the fact that two of them are curled up on my lap as I type this, there are always dogs who are more spoiled than ours. Here are a few signs that your dog is seriously spoiled...

1. A doghouse nicer than my real house

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Retail value $15,000-$20,000. Seriously. Rachel Hunter's dogs call this charming little villa home.

2. A spa membership

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At The Club in Beverly Hills, your dog can enjoy a day of yoga, aromatherapy, massages, Jacuzzi soaks, car service and personalized bedding. I'm sure it's nicer than most hotels I've stayed at.

3. A canopy bed

canopy_bed3.jpgAt only $200, it's a steal! C'mon, it's a small price to pay for your dog's comfort, isn't it? The sad thing is, I'm pretty sure my dogs would be happier in an old, raggedy blanket that they've chewed holes in over the years. Or maybe that's just what I'm telling myself.

4. Doggie tarot cards

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Not like Cesar Millan from the Dog Whisperer, who understands dog behaviors and mind sets well enough to appear to be psychic. Nope, this is the real deal. You use these tarot cards just like the human variety to figure out what your dog (or cat, or bird"¦ it's not limited) is trying to tell you.

5. A $1.8 million dog collar

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Forget what I said about Swarovski crystals—apparently that makes me cheap. No, if you really love your dog, you'll buy them this $1.8 million collar studded with 52 carats, including a seven-carat center diamond. Ha. I'm picturing my dogs gnawing the crap out of this the second I got it fastened around one of their necks.

So what do you do for your pets that might be a little, um, out of the ordinary? 'Fess up!

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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fun
How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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