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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Lifestyle
Holly Evans

‘Crazy dog mum’ spends thousands on pet with swimming lessons, Wagyu beef meatballs and £500 party

PA

A CEO and self-professed “crazy dog mum” who spends thousands on her beloved pet every year with treats, toys, home-cooked nutritious meals, Sunday roasts, trips abroad, and experiences like Doggy Afternoon Tea, has said her rescue pup has gone from being on the streets of Miami to living her “dream life” in London.

Noel Duan, 32, who lives in Hampstead, adopted her rescue dog in March 2016 when she was living in New York, and she named her Artemis after the goddess of wild animals.

Not knowing what her future held after losing her job, Noel said adopting Artemis gave her strength and comfort – a “reason to wake up in the morning” – and she became her “family”.

Ever since, Artemis has lived a lavish lifestyle, having private swimming lessons in New York, Doggy Afternoon Tea at the Egerton House Hotel in London, and home-cooked meals made with pork shoulders, chicken thighs, venison, or beef, root vegetables, pears, apples, flax seeds, chia seeds, and nutritional yeast.

“My dog has a way better diet than I do, and I should probably be eating like my dog if I wanted my dream body,” Noel said.

She spent £10,000 on her pet dog Artemis in the last year
— (PA)

Artemis even has Wagyu beef meatballs with roasted parsnips and gravy for her Christmas lunch, along with £200 from Noel’s parents as her gift, every year.

Noel spends up to £50 on her pup’s treats and food bill every week, up to £20 a month on care products, including wipes for her paws and ears, and about £150 each year on toys.

Most recently, Noel celebrated Artemis’ eighth birthday with an extravagant party attended by 20 of her friends, and she unashamedly invested about £500 to ensure it was a memorable occasion, with £25 dedicated to her furry friend’s cake and another £60 on personalised dog photo masks for her guests to wear.

In calculating her expenses last year, Noel discovered she spent £10,000 on her beloved pet, which is also well-travelled from visiting places like Stockholm, Paris, and Berlin – and while others may consider her expenditures extravagant, she said she is happy spending money on Artemis as she brings her “so much joy”.

“I really think of Artemis as my family. I live in London now, but I’m from America, I’m very far from family,” she said.

Artemis enjoying some afternoon tea
— (PA)

“When people ask me, where’s home, I often think home is where my dog is because that’s where I’m anchored and where I feel safe. Artemis really does represent home to me.

“I don’t think of spending on her as a burden, or anything like that, I think of it as, I’m nurturing a life for both of us.”

Noel believes “fate” led her to Artemis – a mixed breed dog which was found on the streets of Miami, skinny, and covered in parasites – in March 2016.

The then 25-year-old Noel had just been made redundant from her job as a beauty editor, and she thought to herself: “What do I do if I don’t have a job? What am I getting out of bed for?”

Despite not growing up with any pets, Noel decided to adopt a rescue dog while living in New York and she recalls the first time she looked into Artemis’ eyes at an adoption event.

Ms Duan and her friends wearing Artemis photo masks at the pup’s recent birthday party
— (PA)

“They took her out of her kennel and they gave her to me, and she was shaking so much; she was so scared of people that she couldn’t even stand and her legs buckled,” she said.

“I was 25, I had just lost my job, and I looked into Artemis’ eyes and said, ‘I know you’re scared, I’m scared too, and we’re going to learn to be brave together’.”

Noel explained that her furry friend is “a better flirt” than she is, describing her as Miss Congeniality, and she said she is friendly, energetic, sociable, and “truly loves everyone”.

While it took a little while for the trust to be established, the pair soon developed an unbreakable bond and Artemis is now happy and healthy and living her “dream life”.

On average, pet owners spend £948 a year on additional activities, classes, and care for their pets, according to Tesco Bank Pet Insurance.

However, for Noel, who is the CEO of pet grooming company Artemis, named after her dog, her budget far exceeds this – and she discovered she spent £10,000 in total on her last year.

Artemis has had private swimming lessons and enjoyed Wagyu beef meatballs
— (PA)

When they were living in New York, Noel started freelancing and she decided to pay for private swimming lessons for Artemis in 2017, which cost about £80 for each session.

She moved to the UK towards the end of 2020, and during the First Class flight, Artemis sat on her lap and ate a steak, which Noel had ordered for her.

Noel later launched her company Artemis online in the UK, which specialises in dermatologist-approved, sustainable, sensitive skin-friendly, pet grooming products made just for dogs, and her products are also stocked in Love My Human in London.

The pair go on long two-hour walks every morning, enjoy going out for Sunday roasts, and when they are at home, Artemis has three beds to choose from, including one with a memory foam mattress and another which is carved out of wood and decorated with ocean blue, velvet upholstery, which would now cost £500.

Artemis wearing an expensive shearling jacket
— (PA)

Speaking of beds, Noel recalls: “Artemis once slept in a dog bed that was owned by the Queen of the Netherlands, Beatrix, when we were staying with a friend in Stockholm.

“I just thought, ‘How strange is it that my dog, who was found on the streets of Miami, is living such a nice life that she’s sleeping on a hand-me-down from Queen Beatrix?’

“My dog is living my dream life.”

Noel said the most expensive item she has bought for Artemis to date is a shearling jacket to keep her warm, which cost about £280.

While many may not understand her expenditures, which also include vet bills and insurance, she feels privileged to be able to offer Artemis a life where she can be happy and healthy.

“I just think I’m nurturing this life for my dog and, if she’s happy and thriving, then I am too,” she explained.

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