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A dog's life, pampered more than the children.

Byline: Joanne Atkinson Reporter newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

Dog-mad mother of four Leanne Couch is to star in a reality TV show about her hectic life.

The Newport entrepreneur, owner of Mucky Paws dog grooming spa and boutique, admits to treating her pampered pooch Princess Lucy to up to PS10,000 worth of gifts and treatments every year, and giving the dog more Christmas presents than her children.

Now her life, juggling home, four children under 10, and her growing doggy business empire, is set to feature in a three-part fly-on-the-wall documentary series later this year.

"The working title of the series is 'Fur Baby Crazy'," Mrs Couch, 29, said.

"That's the tagline of our Mucky Paws grooming salons, and is how I feel about my very own fur baby, Lucy.

" We started filming two weeks ago and it's basically following me and my crazy life with the dogs, my children and the businesses."

Mrs Couch, who owns two branches of Mucky Paws in Cardiff and Chepstow, and Wales' first Doggy Deli and Barkery in Cardiff, recently appeared on Britain's Flashiest Families on Channel 5 due to her obsession with spoiling her Maltese terrier Lucy, 14.

"I've had Lucy since she was a puppy, and class her as my firstborn," said Mrs Couch, who lives in Newport with husband Leigh, 29, a heating engineer, and children Leo, nine, Luis, four, Lacy, three, and Livie, one. Her fifth child is due next month.

"She has the best of everything - full doggy spa treatments weekly, her fur is dyed different colours, designer clothes, jewellery, luxury leads and collars. "She loves it, and I think she looks amazing. Nobody would think she's a 14-year-old dog because the pampering and food she gets means her fur is white and fluffy - she is so well looked after."

But Mrs Couch doesn't lavish such gifts on her children.

"The kids don't go short of anything, but I don't buy them the same kind of presents as Lucy," explained Mrs Couch.

"I don't want them to be spoiled, I want them to grow up knowing the value of money, and the rewards of hard work.

"Lucy, on the other hand, is a dog, and it's not going to change her personality no matter how many doggy dresses I buy her."

But the family have made other sacrifices for Mrs Couch's obsession with all things canine.

"The children have a lot of attention and time and love, which I think are more important than material things, but we haven't been abroad for years," said Mrs Couch.

"We eat in rather than go out, and play in the park rather than going to expensive attractions.

"Between investing in the businesses, and having young children, we just haven't had the time or the spare money to do those things."

Mrs Couch, who is on maternity leave from her other job at the Royal College of Nursing, set up Mucky Paws in Crwys Road, Cardiff, in November 2012, after Lucy didn't enjoy visiting other dog groomers.

"I wanted somewhere bigger, with more staff to spend longer with each dog, and a luxury feel," she said.

"We also opened the doggy boutique, and Lucy gets one of every outfit we stock there - including a doggy Welsh rugby shirt dress. Her four-poster bed cost nearly PS1,000, she has pearl collars worth hundreds, blingy necklaces, and gets her fur dipdyed regularly."

The Chepstow branch of Mucky Paws opened in July last year, followed by the Doggy Deli and Barkery at the Cardiff premises last November.

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Dog groomer Leanne Couch

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 30, 2015
Words:600
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