Is Fido invited?

I grew up in a household with at least one dog. Sometimes there were two and occasionally we had a stray hang around our yard for anywhere from a couple of days up to a couple of weeks.

Oh, and then there was King! He was an intermittent visitor, the sweetest mutt loaded with so much personality and charm that he nearly got us kids to do a highway drop-off with our dumb dog in favor of keeping him. His owners would invariably show up just as we were finalizing the mysterious disappearance of our boring old retriever. They’d pull up in a huge black cadillac, open a door the size of a mattress and shout, “King! Where you been!” and into their car he’d hop, leaving us with slightly broken hearts and our dudley dog.

That was life in the mid 1970s with a dog. They were part of the landscape, we’d open the door in the morning, let them out and sometimes we wouldn’t see them until someone banged their bowl on the back porch to indicated feeding time. Occasionally we’d get a call from the neighbor saying our dog was eating their garbage, then one or two of us would be dispatched with plastic bags and orders to pick up the trash and get the damn dog home.

Fast forward to 2010…
Gosh, I thought the future would have some form of flying car but instead
It Is a Dog’s World and I Am Just Visiting!

Pampered pooch is more loved than you will ever be

The pampered dog industry not only survived the economic downturn of 2008, it has flourished. In my corner of the world there must be hordes of extremely well-cared-for and well-fed fidos because there are at least a dozen doggy daycare businesses. There are a few dog grooming spas and one dog–just dog photography studio. A fresh produce shop went out of business but quickly became a dog playcare/specialty dog food shop. Less than a quarter-mile away, a fried calamari business (attached to a pizza place) closed but quickly reopened as another specialty dog food and dog grooming shop… Hmmm, I recommend you check the pizza for dog hair if you go there…

There are dog bakeries, dog-friendly coffee shops and eateries, a few dog parks. There are business cards for dog walkers and sitters, dog therapists and dog masseuses on the bulletin board at the local Stop and Shop. My city of Beverly Massachusetts has a noisy coalition of earnest dog owners who are rallied, no demanded a dog park and I think they got it. I really wish they put all that effort into enforcing the pooper-scooper law around here…anyway…

I think it’s out of balance, outlandish even, to have all this money and these resources go toward our pets. I don’t agree with it in the least because I just can not see humanizing dogs to this degree. I am strongly against public resources draining into things like dog parks because in this economy, that is revenue diverted from more future-minded things like education.

Those are my beliefs and I know not everyone agrees with them which is fine. People are free to spend as much time and money as they have on their dogs. It makes them happy and fulfilled and I would never want to deprive anyone of happiness or fulfillment.

The upside of socializing with your dog is that it gets like-minded dog people together which builds nice friendships and lets the dogs run around like maniacs trying to hump each other.

The downside is that it seems to be spiralling out of control.
Today you can find “yappy hours” which are after-hour gatherings of people and dogs, make play dates and set up romantic doggie dates–yes, that is what it looks like. You can throw your dog a birthday party, an adoption day anniversary party and even dog bar mitzvah. And I know a dog wedding has happened somewhere around here, I just know it!

Wacky! I’d never attend (guess what, I’ve never been invited! Surprised?) but again, it’s not my time or money so all I have is my opinion.

It only makes sense that, in light of all this lavishness and attention heaped upon the precious pooch, there is a new social term for those who can’t or won’t love the dog as much as they love the owner: The Pet Snub.

This can be either an act of omission (the invite does not include Fido) or commission (the invite specifically states: DO NOT BRING FIDO).

What I find utterly incredible is how hurt Fido’s owners are when they are invited but Fido is left out!

Since when did we have to start planning for parties with dogs????

Love your dog! Make sure it gets the house and trust funds when you croak! But please understand people should never in any way feel obligated to add to the work of planning a party, a dinner or weekend get-away to accommodate someone elses dog. Unfortunately the prevailing attitude of doting dog owners (people who call their dogs their “babies”) is that if Fido isn’t included, they are NOT attending.

I think that’s a Reverse Pet Snub and it’s pretty insulting. Basically the dog owner says, “If you can’t let my dog run amok at your <insert social gathering here>, you suck, my dog’s better than you and I am not coming.”

According to the Telegraph UK, the Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the focus of Paul the Octopus predicting the outcome of World Cup games is a symbol of all that is wrong with the western world. I disagree. Paul the Octopus was a fleeting fad, a lark and a diversion. He’s waaaaay off! The whole dog obsession and rejection of social situations because of a dog snub is better indication of what is wrong with our society.

Please note before you start sending me hate mail: I have two bad dogs and would never bring them to ANY party if they weren’t invited and I’ve yet to feel the burn of the Dog-snub when they are excluded.

Addendum 7/30/2010
The Boston Globe and I are sharing the same brain lately although I can’t decide if our sentiments are similar or opposite.
Beth Teitell’s article on 7/29/2010 and TODAY there is a picture accompanying an article about chair theft from the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy greenway:

Yum, yum! I want extra dog hair on my pastrami sandwich!

Great picture by Wendy Maeda of the Globe staff but instead of letting the dogs sleep on the table, maybe they could guard the chairs!

About EF Sweetman

writing, reading, pretty much everything noir
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8 Responses to Is Fido invited?

  1. Moi says:

    You forgot to mention DOG CHURCH!! google it.

    Dogs in today’s world wind up being a spoiled and stupid as their idiotic owners. They are bred to herd sheep, pull sleds, guard the house, etc. Spoiled brat dogs are disgusting! So many times I’ve been to a BBQ of people with a dog and the dog runs round begging and annoying people and it starts with “aww isn’t he cute” then yelling at him, then tying him up and eventually throwin ghim in the garage where he barks the whole evening. Treat your dog like a dog and it will be muchmore lovable.

    • sweetman says:

      You’re right! How could I forget–my hometown held an animal blessing ceremony which encouraged all sorts to bring their dogs into church. How did we get so far from the dogs-help-humans??? I think we’ve all suffered the nauseating palaver over the spoiled dog that eventually bites a finger. And the maniac dog cookout!! I wish I could go to one every night! Thanks for writing, cheers!

  2. redriverpak says:

    The “Pampered Pooch” sure looks alot like the maniac little devil dog that attacked me in the woods the other day!

    • sweetman says:

      Idiot! Are we sharing the same brain too??? Give it back, I have to go to work tomorrow and act like I know what I’m doing! P.S. since your post, I haven’t seen Pampered Pooch around….here boy! c’mon boy! Oh where did he go????

  3. Pingback: Mail for Fido « Of bees, baseball, bicycles… and other things

  4. EF Sweetman says:

    Update to 2012: Still a dog planet and we’re on the verge of needing to ask the almighty Dog for permission to be on their planet…Bend, OR made themselves ‘Dog Town USA’. Jesus wept.

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