This morning when I walked into work, the first words out of the receptionist’s mouth (after Good Morning) were “How is your puppy today?” Then, my secretary was telling me all about her child jumping on the bed and after finishing, looked at me abruptly and said “I’ve been rattling on about my son. How is the dog?”
I love Tiki. I talk about him all the time and treat him like a small child – scolding him when he misbehaves, laughing at his antics and hugging him when either of us is sad or sick. Tiki goes to daycare five days a week and, until his surgery, I used to walk him every morning (he is getting picked up in a van this month until the knee fully heals). And, I admit, I miss the walks because Tiki and I used to talk the entire way there. Or. I would talk to him and he would watch me with an expression on his face that made it seem as if he understood.
But, as much as I love Tiki (heck, his birthday party was more elaborate then some people throw for their children), I understand that he is a living breathing animal (although I sometimes forget a non-human animal, I admit) and treat him as such. Tiki is not a cool new handbag or this year’s fashion accessory. Frankly, he is more expensive and his upkeep is more demanding.
That is why I was so disturbed to read this article in the New York Times this morning. For those of you who don’t wish to click on the link, I will copy and paste some snippets so you can get the picture:
Are these people serious??? Sure, I talk about Tiki all the time. There are pictures of him on my computer at work, people know the best way to get me involved in a conversation is to ask about my dog, and Husband and I grudgingly squeeze into a corner of the couch because Tiki likes to stretch out when he watches TV. But c’mon!
“OH, the places Paige has been. Like all the top New Yorkers, she dines downtown at Mercer Kitchen, eyes the heart of palm at the deli E.A.T. on Madison Avenue and appraises the calfskin boots at Gucci. ‘We even drink together,’ said Dina Lewis, a real estate agent and Paige’s constant companion. At Plug Uglies on Third Avenue, ‘Paige sits on the bar stool and everything,’ Ms. Lewis said. ‘It’s like having a very good-looking, very drunk friend with you all the time.’ Except that Paige is a doll-sized Chihuahua. She travels with her mistress everywhere….
‘I think of them as a handbag with a heartbeat,’ said Robin Bowden, a vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, a real estate company in Manhattan…..
Paige, Ms. Lewis’s dog, owns 40 outfits, among them an Hermès coat. Part of Ms. Lewis’s closet is designated for the dog. Like her mistress, she likes to make a fashion statement. ‘With the two of us it’s an equal opportunity thing,’ Ms. Lewis said. ‘I sit up at wee hours of the night online to find that one store in, like, Canada or Switzerland, so Paige can have that one sweater that no New Yorker will ever have’….”
The thing that disturbs me most is that these people seem to not understand that a dog is a living, breathing animal that needs to be properly cared for. Does someone who drinks with their dog bother to learn that grapes are toxic to dogs (so no wine) and many dogs are allergic to the enzyme that is caused during fermentation? Alcohol is very bad for your dog. Or maybe, since a dog is just “a handbag with a heart” they don’t care that they are slowing killing the dog since they will just get next year’s model soon anyway.
Handbags get thrown in the corner when you get tired of them or something better comes along. A dog will cry from loneliness, pee on your stuff and eventually die if you did that. And you should be arrested for that. By actual police. Not the fashion police, which, I assure you, are far less scary than the actual police.
While in Boston this weekend, Tiki stayed home. (Well, he went to day care for an overnight stay). I did not feel the need to have him come with me. And, while walking through Burberry and inquiring as to the price of a dog collar, it did not occur to me for even one second to spend $185 on something that my dog would get dirty and ripped in 45 seconds because…he is a dog. (I am even against buying small children expensive designer clothes, but that is another topic for another time).
So, to everyone quoted in the NY Times articles and to all of you sporting your designer dogs or thinking of purchasing one… Stop and think. Pretend the dog is a permanent toddler. If you are doing something in public that would get you arrested if it was a toddler and not a dog (i.e. drinking) think twice.
And now I have to go because I like to be home from work when Tiki gets dropped off so we can share a snack and talk about his day.