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Jewish World Review
Nov. 5, 2007
/ 24 Mar-Cheshvan 5768
Going to the Dogs
Just in time for the holidays, comes the latest way to turn your sweet, innocent, lovable pet into a full-fledged canine version of a human spoiled brat. Ridiculously expensive fragrance products for dogs are now being sold in high-end department and specialty stores from coast to coast. The only thing that surprises me about this, is that it took so long for it to come about. It was bound to happen sooner or later as the trend of people treating their pets as though they are human beings gets more and more common place.
The stuff is being hawked as "couture canine fragrance and care items" and can be had at places like Bloomingdales, Saks, Nordstrom's, and even Macy's. These products are packaged just like women's lotions, colognes, and other beauty items; in cut glass bottles, sprays, and jars. If you didn't read the labels carefully, you might mistakenly buy this stuff for your girl friend. (I said "girl friend" not "cur" friend.)
"A fetching new fragrance" the headline reads in true ad copy hype. "Juicy Crittoure, a collection for the seriously pampered dog" takes almost a full page of ad space in the main section of the Los Angeles Times and features such products as Pawtection softening paw balm, 1.7 oz., $28; Shampooch shampoo, 8 oz., $25; Pawfum fragrance, 1 oz., $60; Soft Spot coat conditioning mist, 8 oz., $20; and Coif Fur moisturizing conditioner, 8 oz., $25. (To put this in perspective, my Old Spice cost me about $5 for 7 oz. and it lasts me all year.)
It all reads like a gag, but at those prices, it's no joke, believe me. And if you don't think there are plenty of well to do people in Beverly Hills, Park Avenue, Palm Beach, and other parts of this country that will happily shell out that kind of jack for this baloney, then you don't know what Americans with too much disposable cash are truly capable of - especially when it comes to their pets.
Listen, no one loves dogs more than I do, but I'm sorry, there's a sickness to humanizing them to this degree. It has been going on for a long time now and seems to be only getting worse. We can begin with the idiots who dress dogs up in clothing for starters - not only do they humanize them, they humiliate them at the same time. Nothing takes the dignity out of an Irish Setter faster than doing him up in a Santa Claus suit with the long white beard and jingle bell hat.
If you think that's cute, how about the clowns who dress up their dogs in trench coats and goulashes when it rains? Or put little dresses on them? And in the summertime I've even seen sunglasses and bikinis on dogs - can it get any creepier than that? People that do these things to dogs need to get into playing with dolls and just leave the poor dumb animals alone.
I knew we were in trouble when terms such as "animal companion" took the place of the term "pet." And when pet owners started to refer to themselves as "non-human animal caregivers" it suddenly turned normal dogs and cats into bizarre sounding disabled creatures in need of assistance. People don't even call their pets by "pet names" anymore. When was the last time you heard Fido, or Spot, or Rover?
The most popular dog name in North America today is Sam, the second most popular is Max. Other popular dog names are Molly, Brandy, Ginger, and Taffy. When I was a kid Sam and Max were a couple of Jewish guys who operated a deli on the corner, Molly was a waitress, and Brandy, Ginger and Taffy were strippers in a burlesque house down the street.
When people name their kids after fruits and vegetables and earth tones, it's no wonder dogs and cats get all the human names today. Psychologically, it's probably a whole lot easier to spend $28 bucks on perfume for your dog when he has a human name. You might buy moisturizing lotion for "Sammy," but not for "Fido."
Call me old fashioned, but I just can't see naming my dog Irving or Leonard and spending more money on his perfume than I spend on my aftershave lotion.
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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