Hollywood has gone to the dogs with movies like Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Bolt, Marley & Me, and Hotel For Dogs, and that’s surely a reflection of the fact that anything involving shedding, four-legged creatures makes people squeal with proprietary delight. Everyone is so into their dogs these days, and I don’t just mean lonely, empty people who can’t connect with actual humans–I mean everyone, for whom just the sight of a canine, any canine, has them lining up with their wallets and tongues out.
That’s perfectly fine with me, though I feel these pet owners often forget the fact that their dogs love them back so much mainly because (a) they turn to them for food; (b) they’re not that bright; and (c) they don’t have a lot of other choices. When friends boast about the unconditional love you get from a dog, I wonder if they realize there would be conditions if they didn’t lay out a plate of sustenance several times a day and also didn’t take them out for regular bathroom breaks.
But no, these people carry on as it their dogs are basically their soulmates on a leash. They bring them to expensive doggie acupuncture treatments when they’re a little headachy and even get them doggie chemo when they get cancer. I’ve seen dogs with better freakin’ dental work than I’ve had! And I won’t even tell you about the friend of mine who feeds his cat sushi deluxe every day, with ginger and wasabi! Am I just being heartless here? Should pets get the same treatment as humans, even more so at times? Should I be kinder to my gerbil?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 12, 2009