Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Should Dogs Wear Clothes?

By Meg Curtis

The first time I saw a dog in pajamas, I stood dumbfounded.  Why would anyone torture a canine that way?  The dog hated those flannel sleeves and legs.  He even hid under the bed!

Worse yet, nobody had asked him his preference in fabric patterns.  A little boy doesn’t belong in pastel pink with ribbons!  What’s the matter with dog owners in this country, anyway?

Nevertheless, the burgeoning American canine accoutrement industry doesn’t care what I think, and numerous dog owners don’t, either.  Aisles upon aisles of dog clothing loom before us.

Parties for dressing up pugs—with those monkey faces—are just the beginning of a nation gone mad, I concluded.  MY pug didn’t need gray flannels and a navy blazer to prove he was a man!

Then, of course, I purchased a cockalier, who has ideas of his own.  This dog cannot wait to don the latest apparel for his clan—so I bought him a tartan shirt, and he won’t take it off!

His wardrobe now includes the following:

A Harris tweed overcoat for winter (so ice won’t clog his fur)

A cable knit sweater (because he likes those Celtic designs)

A hooded parka vest (which he prefers to wear sans hood)

A leopard print sweat shirt (for those chilly spring and fall days)

A full cat-suit of pajamas (He HATES two-piece pajamas!  He also LOVES cats!)

And that dynamite tartan all-purpose tartan shirt (He’s SO proud of that masculine collar!)

The first time I took him outside in that shirt, he barked as usual at a delivery man.  The poor worker had to ask:  “Will he bite?” 

To which I answered:  “No, he’s just so happy in his new shirt!”

The man didn’t even blink.  He just slobbered:  “Awww!  Isn’t he ADORABLE?”   

So much for American culture.  It’ll get you in the end.  A nation of dog-nuts, that’s what we are.  And our dogs think they’re human, of course.  Mine prefers brown sugar Pop-Tarts to dog treats.  He eats raw carrots, too, because he’s heard they’re good for him.

I can’t even bring myself to apologize for his attitudes.  Every time he barks, I know he’s on the job.  He’s never heard of unemployment—and wouldn’t believe in it, if he had.

He lies at the door—in his shirt, of course—with his nose to the crack of air.  He’s tracking the scents coming from down the street and across town.  He doesn’t trust anybody except me.

He’s the best security system in the world.  If I’d been born in another country, I wouldn’t know this, but I do because I am a 100% patriotic American dog nut, just like the rest of my fellow citizens, who keep dog clothiers in business. 

My dog’s relatives have served in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and even down in local swamps where children sometimes escape to drive their human parents crazy.  He and his associates converse under their breath all night while we sleep soundly.

He doesn’t have a retirement plan.  He has no social security whatsoever.  So, if he wants to eat Pop-Tarts while wearing his favorite shirt in my living room, I will sit right beside him, and yip, “Your name is Loyalty—when it’s not Babe Ruth!”

Politicians come and go.  Babe Ruth STAYS.  He even shakes on command.--and not just because he’s determined to get dirt out of his wardrobe.  He takes this woman seriously.  He takes every cry and moan he hears seriously—even from way over town.

So, I understand now.  He wears clothes because he’s joined the human species.  He EARNS his Pop-Tarts, too.  He NEVER takes down-time unless I’m down, too.  The rest of the time, he makes me laugh because, as a ball-player, he won’t quit anymore than Babe Ruth.

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