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Seeing Red

A Financial Analysis Of What It Would Take To Own Clifford The Big Red Dog

Greg Younger must have found himself drifting off after reading Clifford The Big Red Dog to his daughter one (hundred) too many times, because he started wondering what it would cost to raise and care for the beast. Unlike a normal father, though, Younger actually took an insanely deep dive into the costs of gargantuan pet ownership and figured it out.

Younger estimated Clifford at 30-feet tall, based on imagery showing him looking in the third story window of a house. Then he determined that to be 15 times the size of the average Labrador retriever (and, no, the late author Norman Bridwell never said what kind of breed Clifford was, so a lab’s as good a guess as any). From there, he figured …

  • $3500 a year for food and treats, including two 52-pound bags of kibble a week.
  • A $300 per month spike in the water bill to fill a kiddie pool three times a day.
  • $878 a month for a mortgage on Clifford’s house.
  • $375 a year on leashes and collars.
  • $4000 annually for medical and preventive care and supplements.

That’s $370,000 over a 15-year life span, but dogs that big never make it that long; you’re probably only in it for like, a quarter mil, max. Still, it’s $234,044.50 more than it would cost to raise Calvin and Hobbes.

Younger deserves credit for such a thorough analysis (seriously, well done, sir), but he did miss a few key points. First, he doesn’t include the cost of the payloader you’ll need to clear the backyard of Clifford’s mess.

Second, Clifford doesn’t actually cost his family anything, because Clifford is in fact a big red cash cow. The Clifford series helped Scholastic become a publishing giant, so much that they made Clifford their official mascot. With more than 40 books, 2 TV series, 16 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades and even a live musical to his credit, Clifford’s not a business dog — he’s a business, dog.

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