Aren’t they adorable? These dogs all togged out for the holidays? Heavily laden with jewelry and coats, sweaters and fur.
I think it’s ridiculous. Of course, anyone who dares criticize pets and pet practices is in for a firestorm of …hate! Yes, hate. If you dare offend a pet lover, you are in big trouble.
I usually just smile and avoid discussing the subject, but my values do not include treating pets like humans. When I saw this display while shopping, I almost gagged. I can’t imagine the dog or cat being comfortable in the expensive adornments they are forced to wear. Pet owners ferociously defend this type of clothing and jewelry, maintaining THEIR pet loves to get dressed up and loves the attention. I maintain animals are psychologically changed by the treatment they receive. And, I will concede that to dress up an animal for a short time for a parade or the holidays isn’t going to harm them. It seems overboard and warping of a dog’s basic needs to coddle pooches and cats, and treat them as though they are human, which by extension includes dressing them in jewelry and fancy clothing. People expect them to act human-like and ignore their basic instincts.
I’m a practical person. Dogs and cats, horses as well, had an important function as domesticated animals. And they still do, as companions, medical assistants, rescue animals, and just unconditional love. Isn’t that enough? It is noble. They seem to be natural healers.
What does it say about us as humans that there are food banks begging for food; some have quit taking applications because they just can’t meet the needs. Many children are living in cars and struggling with parents stressed because the family is at risk. So, does it seem okay to spend $15 to $30 or more on doggie jewelry? I can’t imagine teaching my children, if I had young children, that lavish spending on an animal is a part of family life. Especially in times like these, even if you can afford it. I think giving to a charity comes first and deliberately ignoring that type of spending teaches a basic lesson about moral choices.
We taught our children and my kids have taught their children that giving and sharing is part of everyone’s responsibility. If your children love animals, teach them about Heifer International where you can buy a sustainable animal for families in Slovakia, Malawi or the United States. $500 buys a heifer, $50 buys a share. $120 buys a goat, or $10 buys a share. Wouldn’t be nice to know some little boy or girl can get a constant supply of milk in India? Or $10 buys a share of a pig in Thailand. $20 buys a flock of chickens in Honduras. Another great close to the ground charity is Oxfam, providing loans, work, education, clean water, self-sustaining practices, working with peace keeping organizations in countries at war. It seems to me that not enough Americans have been hungry enough in our collective memory to consider that the amount of money we spend on pets per year, over a billion dollars, could feed or educate a small country.
I’ve had pets all of my life. I’m not a pet hater. I love pets. I just think we should put the price of a pet in perspective. The land to grow the corn and wheat they eat. The detriment to wild birds from predatory cats. Consider the horror stories of people who don’t know how to care for pets and abandon them or mistreat them by neglect. The medical resources used to treat them. The continual cost of animal control by every county and city in the U.S. is a direct result of the mishandling of pets by humans.
Go ahead. Get out the whip!