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Byline: Maureen Wallenfang
Sep. 19--Sara Van Den Eng considers herself a reasonable pet owner.
She's not being overindulgent, she believes, when she stops in Two Paws Up, one of Appleton's new dog treat bakeries, to pick up special bone-shaped biscuits with yogurt frosting for her pets.
Nor is it unusual, says the Appleton resident, to drop her two dogs off at daycare if she has to be gone for a long time, like a recent day when she attended a wedding.
More likely, she'll have the dogs with her, especially when she goes in stores that allow pets, or if they're at home, she'll leave the TV on home for them to watch PBS children's shows.
She admits that her friends did think she was a little "cracked" when she sent out her dogs' birth announcements.
"We don't have kids, we have pets," she said as she watched her two red golden retrievers romp in a playpen at Ain't Misbehavin' Dog Center, a new training and day care facility in Little Chute. "They're worth it. They earn their keep. The best therapist in the world is a puppy."
Van Den Eng is not alone in pampering her pets and her willingness to spend on their comfort.
"I'm never surprised," said Ain't Misbehavin's owner, Kathy Willes. "People feel good spoiling their dogs."
"We're nuts," said Nancy Garvey, another Appleton dog devotee who fully admits to babying her three shih tzus, to the point of giving them their own room and giving them people names -- Ernest, Greta and Newman -- to emphasize their place as true members of the family.
"To me, pets are put on this earth to be pampered."
Garvey even nibbles on …