Saturday morning, I had to head to Crocker Park in Westlake. If you've ever been to Crocker Park or any mall in America, you probably know these places are clutch for people-watching. But what I witnessed at Crocker Park on this Saturday was literally inhumane. Everyone that I passed who had a dog within the premises (it's an outdoor mall) had that dog in clothing. I'm not talking the necessary clothing like a jacket if the dog has short hair and gets cold easy or shoes if the dog has a problem with the paws. The outfits I saw ranged from head-to-toe Ohio State gear that matched the owner to an outfit that looked like it was purchased five minutes prior at Abercrombie Kids.
Woody has one piece of clothing and it is a fleece jacket he only wears when I take him outside in the dead of winter. This is what I call clothing with a purpose because if he didn't wear it, he probably would last in the cold about five minutes less than normal, resulting in a huge mess for my carpet later.
Unless I witness someone being abusive, I'm trying to do a better job at not judging other dog owners. Besides, who am I to talk when I have one of the most insane and inappropriate dogs known to man? Seriously, my friends can tell you, no one's arm or leg is safe upon entering my apartment. It's ALL Woody's territory. Anyway, I just have to ask. WHAT is the point of doggie outfits without a purpose? Besides Woody's winter wear, I can think of one instance where I've ever condoned putting clothing on a dog. I believe it was a random weeknight and my college roommates and I decided to put a silly slip and boa on our dopey house dalmation, Griffin (who I love to pieces) as a joke. This lasted five minutes and Griffin was visibly miserable. Other than that, I don't know anyone personally who puts clothes on their dog and takes them out in public with other humans and dogs. I'm probably the only one I know that even does so in the winter.
I guess like most material things, we can argue that clothes for dogs are a waste of money and just another meaningless product in pet retail stores. But according to the RSPCA (the UK version of the ASPCA), putting dogs in non-functional clothing can be harmful to the dog, and, in the UK, the most extreme cases of dog dress-up can call for prosecution. The main reason? The RSPCA argues that restrictive, human-like clothing does not allow the dog to exhibit normal dog behavior.
"A 'dressed up' dog may not be understood and another dog may be aggressive towards it, or the 'dressed' dog may get frustrated in the presence of other dogs and become aggressive itself."
After doing a bit more research on the Internet, I couldn't really find much about the psyche of those who dress up their dogs, but it seems pretty clear that the general consensus is that this is insane. Dogs are not humans and trying to turn them into one does more harm than good. One of the women I saw with dressed-up dogs on Saturday actually had her Yorkshire Terriers in a STROLLER! A STROLLER!!
I am all for spoiling the animals we love, but when we begin crossing the line and trying to turn them into humans I think we need to look at ourselves and figure out why, why do we really feel the need to have pseudo-human friends? And once outfits and strollers become commonplace, what's next? I'm afraid to find out and really feel sorry for the next generation of dog-kind.
I'm just a twenty-something female raising the weirdest dog I've ever met.