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And why would they? Dogs profited handsomely from the association. As their closest kin, wolves, dwindled to scarcity, sociable, hardworking, malleable, adaptable, lovable dogs in myriad shapes and sizes proliferated alongside humans in the globe's every corner. Today there are about 68 million in the United States alone, one for every four people. And while a few still work for their daily cup of kibble, most get free rides. "Ninety-nine point nine percent of them do nothing but lie around the house, bark, and eat," says contemporary writer Stephen Budiansky, grossly overstating the case to make a point. His book The Truth About Dogs suggests dogs get a lot more from the relationship than humans get back.

Well, they certainly aren't chewing many leftover mutton bones anymore. In her Park Avenue apartment on New York's Upper East Side, Nancy Jane Loewy feeds Tiffy, her fluffy, eight-pound Maltese, twice a day from an enviable larder. Along with her dog food, says Loewy, "I'll give her a little chicken for breakfast, some steamed baby carrots, steamed broccoli, and some sweet potato—a balanced diet. For dinner I might add lamb or steak or poached salmon or tuna with steamed vegetables. And for dessert some low-fat yogurt with no sugar, maybe just a teaspoon of strawberry or apricot yogurt to sweeten it, and a couple of red grapes sliced in half. Then I'll give her one or two Teddy Grahams, she likes those, and maybe some Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers for snacks."

Loewy, whose husband is an investment adviser and whose two sons are away at school, has the time and wherewithal to treat Tiffy as she might royalty and delights in doing so. "I want to give her the healthiest, most wonderful life possible for as long as possible," says the slender New Yorker as the fluff-ball curls up alongside.

To that end Tiffy has a professional walker to take her to Central Park daily, is shampooed and groomed once every few weeks at Karen's, a pet emporium on Lexington Avenue, and belongs to a leashless and cageless indoor Manhattan dog club and day-care facility, Biscuits and Bath, where she can go for a few hours to exercise with peers under an attendant's eye.

Tiffy has a boyfriend, Bucky, who lives a few blocks away. "He's a handsome, fabulous male, and she's a beautiful, sensitive female," says Loewy of the happy canine couple. "We get together at least once a week for play days. Sometimes we go to the Stanhope Hotel for lunch," on a terrace where pets are permitted, "or we go to Bistro du Nord on 93rd Street and share a cheese-and-fruit plate with the dogs."

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