I was eating a burrito outside the Hyde Park Chipotle when a sophisticated-looking couple approached: a woman with long blonde hair wearing huge sunglasses (although it was 9:30 p.m.) and an adorable little white dog, its eyes and nose like black buttons amid its waves of fur.
After hearing about how the white Maltese of billionaire Leona Helmsley inherited $12 million, I wondered how this local dog, which looked fairly similar, would spend that kind of money.

Cincinnati may be less expensive than where Helmsley’s dog will live, but — as we explore in this month’s Executive Living feature — there are plenty of luxury resorts and boutiques where  a pooch can splurge. I pictured the dog cruising over the Roebling Bridge with its head out a limo window, hitting Wiggly Field with celebrity friends (maybe Nick Lachey’s dog?), and dining from Montgomery Inn doggie bags.
But what if it didn’t blow all thatmoney in its lifetime? Having no puppies (or pets) of its own, would it leave some money to charity?
After all, there are a lot of less fortunate dogs here. SPCA Cincinnati receives about 18,500 animals each year, says Operations Manager Andy Mahlman. About half of them are lost, while the other half are turned in by owners.

Mahlman says Cincinnati is similar to most municipalities nationwide in pet over-population. Each year in this country, 6-8 million cats and dogs enter shelters and 3-4 million are euthanatized by shelters, according to the U.S. Humane Society’s website.
The little white dog sitting under the Chipotle table might like to have an animal shelter built in its name if it were a millionaire, I thought. Suddenly, it noticed another canine walking down the sidewalk and went berserk, pulling the chair it was tied to across the patio, yelping and wiggling uncontrollably. It strained against its collar, gasping for air as its owner held it back … maybe not as demure a socialite as I had been imagining.

“A dog’s requirements are pretty simple, but the person that’s on the end of the leash is the one that’s paying the bills,” jokes Deana Scott, owner of the Sundance Pet Resort in Independence. “I don’t see any dogs with checking accounts.”

Researching this feature, I heard dogs referred to as “furry children” and “spoiled family members.” You obviously love pets and understand their need for exercise and companionship.  To express that love, go ahead and buy yours a jewel-encrusted collar. But also consider supporting or adopting from an animal shelter and “fixing” your pet to help control the local animal population.