Over the past decade the super rich saw dramatic increases in their incomes and substantial cuts in their income tax rates. So what’s a super rich person supposed to do with all he’s horded? Protect it with a very expensive specially trained guard dog. The New York Times reports:
When she costs $230,000, as Julia did, the preferred title is “executive protection dog.” This 3-year-old German shepherd, who commutes by private jet between a Minnesota estate and a home in Arizona, belongs to a canine caste that combines exalted pedigree, child-friendly cuddliness and arm-lacerating ferocity.
Julia and her ilk have some of the same tracking and fighting skills as the dogs used in elite military units like Navy SEAL Team 6, which took a dog on its successful raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan in May.
In fact, Julia was sold by a trainer, Harrison Prather, who used to supply dogs to SEAL Team 6 and the British special forces. But then Prather switched to a more lucrative market.
“Either rich people discovered me, or I discovered them — I can’t remember which happened first,” said Prather, the president of Harrison K-9 Security Services in Aiken, S.C.
“She’s a top deal,” Julia’s owner, John Johnson, said as she escorted him around the grounds of his 15-acre estate outside Minneapolis. “She’s won awards. She looks at you, she’s got the most beautiful face.”
“I’ve turned down offers of more than $200,000 for one of my champion dogs,” said Curry, who added he knew of a dog that had sold for more than $400,000 because of its bloodline and breeding potential. (Although Julia’s offspring most likely would have commanded top prices, Johnson said he had no time to breed her and instead had her spayed shortly after buying her in January.)
To clients who can afford the $50,000 price for a typical well-credentialed dog, there are lots of ways to rationalize the price.
“When you compare the costs of a full-time bodyguard versus a dog, the dog makes a lot of sense,” Curry said. “And the dog, unlike the bodyguard, can’t be bought off.”
The article mentions that Mr. Johnson got his first guard dog after receiving threats while running a debt-collection agency in Minnesota called Northland Group. After reading just a few of the complaints against that company, I can understand why he was threatened.
He must be doing very well in the debt-collection business if he can afford to pay $230,000 for a dog to protect him from people that think he’s an asshole.