We should have known we were in trouble this past fall. My husband and I were planning our annual October camping and hiking trip in celebration of my birthday, and it occurred to us we were spending far more time considering the needs and desires of our dog than figuring out what I wanted most.

I distinctly remember the two of us trading descriptions of pet-friendly trails and campgrounds, hoping to show Schatzi the time of her life, and it wasn’t even HER birthday! Not that we even know when her birthday is, as the shelter provided very little background information about the mixed-breed puppy, but we took a guess and decided to celebrate in September.

By “celebrate,” I mean that we bought her a new chew toy and made her a special meal. We did not, however, host a party with bone-shaped invitations and a dozen canine friends in party hats. We’re not completely insane. Yet!

Nevertheless, we are all very fond of our furry friend and she has thoroughly stolen our hearts in the two years since we welcomed her into our home. Schatzi is the sweetest and most loving animal I’ve ever known, and we take turns lavishing her with attention and affection. It’s turned out to be a tough life for that filthy little puppy we sprung from that cold concrete cell, but somehow she gets by.

In a few weeks, we’ll be leaving for a trip much longer than our usual camping jaunts and this time the pup won’t be able to join us. As excited as we are about our upcoming plans, we’re actually feeling a little guilty about leaving one of our “kids” behind and we’ll definitely miss her.

We’ve been trying to decide the best way to make sure she’s comfortable and safe while we’re gone. She’s a bit much for the house sitter/cat feeder, and Grandma’s already got her hands full with five dogs of her own. Other options include Pawpaw’s house out in the country, where she can frolic freely through hundreds of wooded acres and face only a moderate chance of being mauled by a wild boar, or our choice of several local kennels.

Local boarding options range from our vet’s simple accommodations to places like Animal Barn or Walks and Wags, which offer a full service daycare to its guests including plenty of play time and socialization, and Copeland’s Pet Motel, which offers premium suites featuring a live video feed so you can check in on your furry friend.

It’s too bad for Schatzi that we’re not filthy rich and living in Malibu, where we could offer her a luxury vacation at the Canyon View Ranch. The sprawling dog resort, whose owners fancy it a Disneyland for dogs, features underground tunnels and tubes for playing, a bone-shaped swimming pool and a cascading waterfall. This place makes the nicest hotel you ever stayed at seem like a $7 a night hostel from hell.

Paradise Ranch in Los Angeles features cage-free boarding and a dog waterpark, with playtime in the pools as well as swimming and diving lessons. They also offer birthday parties, massages, and a full-service wine bar for relaxing after an afternoon on the golf course. OK, I’m kidding about those last two, but the parties and dog massages are real.

Barkingham Palace in Palm Springs features glass block suites with queen beds, couches and TVs. After catching up on True Detective, your pooch will want to enjoy a day in the luxury spa, offering such amenities as massages, warm water therapy, and rain drop therapy. And should she fret about over-indulging in the resort’s extravagant cuisine she will want to schedule a few sessions of Canine Pilates or perhaps some time on the treadmill. Yes, really.

It’s likely she’ll engage in a little vacation romance during her stay, but should it turn into something serious you’ll want to ask about their Doggie Weddings. At $475 they handle the event planning, setup and all activities. That’s a steal! Do you realize how much weddings cost these days? By the way, I’ve recently added dog divorces to my law practice. Call me for current rates!*

These places are equal parts hilarious and awesome, and it makes me wonder what sort of lives these fancy dogs live when they’re not on vacation. I imagine their human companions as the sort of folks that would seek out a product like Neuticles, an artificial testicular implant designed to restore male dogs to their original appearance after neutering. The artificial testicles come in a variety of sizes and apparently help dogs cope with the emotional trauma of losing part of their manhood.

According to the inventor of this insane product, dogs definitely know when they’re missing a familiar body part and feel depressed without it. Somehow I feel like this whole thing was a huge misunderstanding that all started when his recently neutered dog asked for “new balls” on his Christmas list.

Fancy dogs aren’t only for the rich and famous. All across the country, demand for ultra-premium organic dog foods has skyrocketed. All I can think of is a T-shirt I once saw that says “My dog only eats top-quality organic treats and its own feces.”

The funniest thing about spoiling dogs is their profound enjoyment of life’s simplest pleasures. They delight in things like fresh air, rolling in the grass, naps in the sunshine, playing with balls (of the rolling sort), and snacking on random feces. Most of all, they just want our love and companionship.

Nevertheless, there’s no creature on earth as capable of the pure and unconditional love offered by good dogs, and if anyone deserves the finer things in life, it’s probably them.

* No representation is made that the quality of canine legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of canine legal services performed by other dog lawyers.