Bonnie Henry

Bonnie Henry

Ron Medvescek/Arizona Daily Star

There’s a commercial running on TV right now about a couple looking for the perfect home for their growing family — including a little boy of about 4 or 5, plus “one in the oven,” as they used to say.

Turns out, it’s the boy, not his parents, who will decide where they live. After a series of look-sees, all summarily rejected by the boy, he finally gives his approval to the house his beaming parents will ultimately pay the mortgage on for decades to come. The clincher: It has a treehouse.

No word on how many bedrooms or bathrooms the house may have, or whether it’s located next to a park — or a strip joint. The only thing that seems to matter here is that this is the house the kid wants, and what he wants, he gets.

Now to be sure, kids do play an important part in determining where we live. How many bedrooms and bathrooms does the house have? Is it close to schools and recreational facilities? Does it have a big backyard? Is it on a quiet street? These were all factors years ago when we bought the soon-to-be-built house where our kids, then ages 4 and 6, would grow up and into young adulthood.

And while we hauled the kids along with us every weekend as we checked on the construction progress of the house, we never once thought to inquire of these young minds whether Mommy and Daddy were buying the right house.

That, after all, would have been akin to the tail wagging the dog. Which brings us to — and yes, I do apologize for the shameless segue — my latest episode of: “Dogs Rule — Why Do You Even Ask?”

According to a recent story by The Associated Press, Standard Pacific Homes is including a “pet suite” as an option in every one of its 27 developments scattered from Florida to California.

Folks, we are talking much more than a bowl of Purina and a pillow on the floor. The most luxurious suite, all 170 square feet of it, includes a step-in wash station, tiled walls and floors, commercial-sized pet dryer, automated feeders, bunk bed, toy and treat cabinets, stackable washer and dryer, flat-screen television set, and a “French door opening to a puppy run.” Price tag: $35,000.

For those who inexplicably fail to grasp that Fluffy deserves only the very best, there are lesser packages, starting at $8,000 for 60 square feet of spa.

Naturally none of this nonsense would be around without a market, which Standard Pacific Homes deduced after conducting “livability studies with homeowners.” Pets, said Jeffrey Lake, national director of architecture for Standard Pacific, “were a constant theme.”

And true to form, several potential buyers brought their dogs along to the model grand openings at various communities built by Standard Pacific Homes. (No word on whether the dogs were considerate of each other — or the decorator furnishings.)

So forget wine cellars and state-of-the-art home theaters. Homes boasting the latest luxury features all appear to be going to the dogs — in the nicest possible way, of course.

We’ll know that’s really true the first time we see a commercial about a couple looking for that perfect home. Only there won’t be any little boy making the decisions. Instead, it will be a dog — a nice Lab, perhaps — woofing or wagging his approval of a home where he just might allow his humans to also live.

Bonnie Henry’s column runs every other Sunday. Contact her at