Tatum celebrated her first birthday last month. The precious mini-schnauzer/yorkie terrier is a member of the McLendon family. Tiaras are out of the question, so I created a little birthday tag and hosted a birthday party. It lasted all of six minutes.
A year ago I scoffed at people who celebrated their dog’s birthday. Dogs have no conception of birthdays or celebrations. The whole idea is absurd. And yet…just look at Tatum. She is the most adorable puppy I have ever seen. Including those in the Purina Puppy Chow commercials. It was fun to throw a little party for her—mainly for the fun photo op.
Friends have accused me of spoiling Tatum. And I will admit that, on occasion, I am guilty of that. But there are far worse things that pet owners do than buy a birthday present. In fact, the whole pet pampering business has exploded in recent years to ludicrous proportions. I vow, here and now, that I will never—repeat never—do any of the following:
- Purchase a Halloween costume and have Tatum dress up like a bumblebee.
- Celebrate Valentine’s Day with my pet.
- Nor St. Patrick’s Day, or New Year’s or…you get the picture.
- Call my answering machine to let my pet know that I won’t be home until later.
- Take Tatum to a pet psychologist…(honestly, it’s the owners who need therapy.)
- Buy refrigerated dog food. I wish I were kidding. (www.delifreshpet.com)
- Bring Tatum to a Doggie Day Care. Dogs know how to occupy themselves. Believe me. It’s called a chew toy.
- Ever step foot on the premises of a luxury boarding kennel. (www.pamperedpetsinn.com) It is tragic that such places are in business when nearly half the world’s population lives in poverty.
- Ditto with doggie spas. Yep, doggie spas. (www.pamperedpuppy.com/features/200601_nycspas.php) This article describes a masseur who “has developed a special massage combining elements of Reiki, myofascial release and acupressure. He loves his canine clients and says, ‘They respond well to therapy because they have no skeptism.’” Of course they don’t have skeptism. They are dogs. Overwhelmingly instinctual animals. They react instead of employing critical thinking skills. Did Pavlov teach us nothing? I want to know if these dogs even know what’s happening to them. Their senses are rather simple. A good, old-fashioned bath will appear the same as an exorbitant ‘Mandarin Green Tea Coconut Crème’ shampoo & massage treatment.
- Which brings us to pet massages. A professional massage is too much of a luxury for me. Why would I pay for my dog to receive such treatment? The poor dogs probably think they’re being tortured in a strange, human way. Anything for a dollar, right? Or $60/hr in some cases.
- Present Tatum with jewelry or jewel-studded collars.
- Commission an artist to paint my dog’s portrait.
- Send her on a Pet Airways flight. This has to be a joke, right? (www.petairways.com)
- Learn and perform yoga with my dog. Doga, as it’s called. This is really too much. (www.nytimes.com/2009/04/09/fashion/09fitness.html, http://www.dogadog.com)
See? my love of Tatum is not so extreme after all. A new collar for her birthday is astonishingly mellow compared to the gross excesses of pet pampering. In fact, I feel quite normal.
What is the craziest thing you’ve done for your pet?