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Fido Takes A Bite Out Of American Pocketbooks

When Philadelphia-based journalist Michael Schaffer's dog started messing the house and barking non-stop while he and his wife were at work, he went to his veterinarian for help.

"It's called separation anxiety," his vet said. "There's a drug for that."

And while Schaffer and his wife had promised themselves they wouldn't be like those pet owners who spend a fortune on their pets, they sprung for the antidepressants anyway — and then he wrote a book about it.

In One Nation Under Dog, Schaffer explores the $43 billion industry that's grown around our obsession with our pets and how that booming market reflects our evolving ideas of consumerism, family, politics and domesticity.

Schaffer has worked as a writer and an editor at the Washington City Paper, U.S. News and World Report and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

This interview was originally broadcast on April 1, 2009.

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