In these musings of mine, I have previously been critical of people and their pets - specifically, dogs. Because people adore their doggies, they seem to assume everyone will adore their doggies and thus take liberties that make other people hate them.
Hate the owner, not the dog. The dog doesn’t know better, the owner should.
We have now reached a new phase in pet ownership that transcends simple adoration. For more on that story, let’s call on my favorite side of my personality. Take it away, Grumpy Old Man.
Thanks, Pretends To Be Compassionate side of my personality. What you are alluding to is what is now being called the ‘humanization’ of our pets.
How real is it?
It’s really, really real.
So real in fact that a recent analysis comparing the stocks of two major food companies gave Company A’s stock the edge over Company B because Company A has recognized that we are increasingly treating our animals more like people than pets, and they have invested heavily in that trend.
In other words, we are willing to buy more expensive pet food, and that’s what Company A sells.
I call it a trend. Truth is, it’s the truth. The true truth.
I grew up old school as far as pets are concerned. We had beagles. They were used for hunting, they lived in a pen behind the garage, and we fed ‘em whatever was cheapest in a 50-pound bag.
They were cared for, mind you, but they didn’t come inside when the weather got cold, didn’t go to the store with us, and we didn’t take them on trips.
Anyone can see how differently we treat our dogs (pets) these days. Fact is, nowadays businesses hope to win your patronage by pandering to your pets.
Hotels advertise as pet friendly. Dogs always seem to be present in home improvement stores. Your bank may have pet treats at the drive-through window (mine does). Breweries not only invite you to bring your dog, there are often special events to encourage you to do so.
What makes me grumpy about the humanization of pets is that it’s a pet. It’s not a person, it’s a dog.
And you’ve gone too far.
I had the good fortune of catching up with an old friend a couple of years ago. She lives a fine life in a fine house with a fine husband and six fine dogs. They probably had fine furniture, but how would you know? Everything was covered in sheets so that the dogs could sleep wherever they wanted.
I don’t get it. I hope they buy furniture from Goodwill. It would help a good cause, and what difference does it make if you can’t see it?
Walking through Home Depot, I encountered a woman pushing a shopping buggy with nothing in it by four little schnauzer-like dogs. Not only were FiFi, LiLi, GiGi, and BeBe identical, they were all identically dressed. That’s right, she had gotten up that morning, dressed up four dogs and taken them to Home Depot.
I don’t get it. If you ask me, the only thing she was shopping for was attention. If I’m right, I doubt Home Depot was her only stop.
I just attended a wedding where a dog was dressed in a tuxedo and considered a groomsman.
I don’t get it. He’s a sweet dog but an old dog. He required someone’s attention from start to finish.
My favorite: I’m waiting in line in a restaurant to be seated. The hostess is trying to explain to the woman in front of me that her dog is welcome but only at outside seating.
“It’s too cold outside,” she complained.
Secretly, I was hoping the hostess would hit her. ‘Do it. Come on, do it. Clock her!’ The woman left in a huff.
I don’t get it. Honey, it’s a restaurant. We’re serving food here. Ain’t nobody want to smell your dang dog. Ain’t nobody want dog hair in their food. Oh, I’m sure. You have the only dog in America that doesn’t shed. My bad. Would your dog like a table or a booth?
That’s where we are now folks and it isn’t a trend. It’s the evolution of our society and how we interact with our pets.
From shopping with our pets, to planning vacations around where our pets will be accepted, to (the worst) leaning on our pets for emotional support, we have become a nation of truly… silly… people.
I am Grumpy Ol’ Man. I am out here making fun of you. And I am done.
(We would now resume our regular program here, but the Pretends To Be Compassionate side of my personality is in the bathtub. With the dog. What if he slipped and fell?)