Australia’s ABC is always onto the top breaking stories. Here’s one of the latest:

Thailands dogs are now eligible for life insurance, under a new policy that offers payouts to owners if their pets die. Veterinarian Sombat Pipattanamatha says about 2,000 dogs have already been granted life insurance policies since the program began last year. “Dogs are now like family members, and we think they should be well cared for,” he said. Locally bred dogs can receive coverage worth up to 10,000 baht ($AUS360), while foreign pedigrees can get up to 500,000 baht ($A18,000). Mr Sombat, who consults with the company that developed the policy, said he is now working on plans that would provide benefits to dogs in non-fatal accidents and that would cover injuries to humans in dog attacks.

When I read this I was reminded of this great photo of canine fashion taken by my colleage and co-author, Tim Forsyth at Jatujak Market:


But, all jokes aside, this is a serious issue. Insurance coverage is the latest step in the steady growth of Thailand’s pampered pooch culture. Even in the village where I work in northern Thailand the large and ill-tempered collection of seemingly ownerless mutts is now being joined by some very pampered looking poodles. And my casual observation suggests that sales of dog food have increased substantially in recent years.

Has anyone made a serious study of this canine aspect of Thai popular culture? Perhaps regular New Mandala reader Dog Lover may have some insights.