It was really hot last weekend. When it gets too warm to be comfortable, we humans often seek the sanctuary of a building with air conditioning. Central air is a wonderful thing. Pets, however, are subject to the whims of their human caretakers. Sometimes we neglect to realize that if it's hot for us it's also hot for Fido.


This is why a story about a thing called DogSpot grabbed my attention. Ferndale, near Detroit, is the first city in Michigan where DogSpots are available. Simply, DogSpot is an air-conditioned, high-tech doghouse where your dog can hang out while you dine or shop. They have heating and cooling and “a camera with a microphone that is monitored 24/7.” You can watch your dog using an app on your phone. Sessions are 30 cents per minute, or $18 per hour with a max time of 90 minutes. “DogSpots use UV lights to kill bacteria, viruses, and molds between uses, giving you extra peace of mind.” Ferndale has two DogSpots now in operation.


Pretty cool, eh? No more leaving Fido in a hot car. The manufacturers proclaim: “DogSpot strives to make the world better for dog owners and dogs alike, and in doing so support local retail and strengthen communities.” 

( and


When you see something like DogSpot, it makes you realize that most pet owners will go to great lengths to ensure the health and safety of their furry friends. A recent study by Lendedu shows just how much. 


“We love our pets so much that we go to great lengths to spoil them, protect them, and sometimes, even save them. In modern times, pet insurance has become a bustling marketplace. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), 1.8 million pets were insured in 2016 in North America. In total, $940 million worth of pet insurance premiums were written in 2016, which was up from $774 million in 2015.” 


Two polls were conducted that asked the question: “How much would you be willing to spend to save your dog from a life threatening illness or disease?" In this regard, dog owners were willing to spend more. “Dog owners were willing to spend $10,725.46, while cat owners reported that they would pay $3,454.22.”


You might also wonder what the normal expenses are for dog or cat owners. “Americans that exclusively own a dog spend more on their companion than do Americans that exclusively own a cat by an average of $991.07. In general, dog owners have an average annual expenditure of $2,033.60, while cat owners have an average annual expenditure of $1,042.53 for their cat.” 



In my experience, having owned both dogs and cats, at least when you spend money on a dog they do things to earn their keep – tricks, home security, hunting. Cats, on the other hand, merely tolerate you. If a cat could operate a can opener there would be no reason to acknowledge humans in the household. 


That said, while dogs can do a lot of things, a guy on Michigan's Portage Lake in  Washtenaw County might want to rethink what he expected of his dog. As you probably know, all boaters towing water skiers are required to have a designated person (a spotter) to alert the driver if anyone falls and to keep track of that person's location. According to an official report, when a DNR officer asked the man where his spotter was: “The subject quickly responded by saying 'she just jumped in the water,' in reference his Labrador Retriever who had just jumped in the lake to go for a swim.” Dogs can do a lot of things, but apparently serving as a water skiing spotter is not one of them. “The CO advised that while she may be a very good dog, she was not qualified to be an observer by law. Enforcement action was taken.”



Not everyone has a dog or cat for a pet, but it's always a good idea to be aware of what your pet can do. Good advice for a guy in Pinconning who was in serious condition “after he was bitten by his venomous pet cobra.” The man had to be 'transported to McLaren Bay Region hospital and later flown to a Detroit hospital, and then anti-venom had to be flown to the hospital to treat the man.' See, there are three words in this story that would seem to be incongruous for anyone with more IQ points than a cinder block – cobra, venomous, PET. Get a clue!



Pet cobras aside, sometimes when dealing with the animal kingdom bad things can happen to good people. A person could just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Take 20-year-old Dylan McWilliams, for example. “He was bitten by a shark, attacked by a bear, and bitten by a rattlesnake—all in just over three years.” The odds of these three things happening to the same person are 93.35 quadrillion to one.


The odds of any one of these three things happening are pretty astronomical by themselves: Being attacked by a shark in U.S. waters is one in 11.5 million, being injured by a bear is one in 2.1 million, and being bitten by a venomous snake in the U.S. is one  in 37,500 (not counting owners of pet cobras). By comparison, there's a one in 5,000 chance of being struck by lightning during a lifetime and the odds of being killed in a car accident are one in 112. 




With all this in mind, having DogSpots to keep pets safe and comfortable makes a lot of sense. Can HusbandSpots be the next logical development? 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and

In General, Dog Owners Spend More Annually Than Do Cat Owners