Saturday, October 25, 2008

Are you kidding?

(Originally published March 8, 2008)

Among my many email subscriptions is's "Dog Crazy Newsletter," in which a veterinarian named Dr. Jon summarizes one of the many articles on the website and adds a few timely tips. Today's newsletter summarized an excellent article about separation anxiety by veterinary behaviorist Nicholas Dodman. However, it was one of the tips added by Dr. Jon at the end of the email that really got my attention -- and not in a good way.

Now that you're home for the weekend, suggests Dr. Jon, spend some quality time with your dog (so far, so good). Take him to the dog park (fine, too, as long as your dog can handle being with other dogs). But then, he adds this little gem:

Dress him up and take pictures (he won't be bored, but he may be

Since when is deliberately annoying a dog a good idea? And why, for that matter, is it okay to put a dog in human clothing and then laugh at the dog or worse, coo over how cute he is? Doesn't a dog have a right to some individual dignity?

Allie dislikes human clothing so much that she can't even abide the kerchief she gets after each session with her groomer. But even if she could, I would never attempt to put her in a dress, a hat -- or, God forbid, those ridiculous doggie antlers that way too many dogs are forced to wear at Christmas time. These are our dogs, people. We supposedly love them. Why is it okay for us to make them objects of ridicule?

Dr. Jon, you should know better.

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