Everyday I come across something that reminds me that change is inevitable. Mostly I embrace that fact. Other times I don a necklace of garlic; I brandish a crucifix; and I carry an atomizer of holy water to try to repel that truth.
Once upon a time we owned dogs for fun. Today we own dogs for fashion. Hipsters coordinate their ironic tee shirts and scruffy beards with scruffy mutts. Fashionistas go for teacup dogs because, whether carried in the crook of the arm like a clutch bag or left to peek out over the side of a designer handbag, pups are proving to be timeless accessories that complement any ensemble. I even think I saw a woman wearing a Bichon Frise as a brooch.
We used to have dogs to protect our home and possessions. Today the dogs are the valuable possessions worth protecting. Those pure breed and designer dogs (Pomapoos, Yorkiepoos, etc.) can cost anywhere from $300 to $3,000 dollars. You can understand why folks are taking extreme measures to protect that investment with special tags and permanent ID microchips.
There was a time when dogs had to earn their keep. I’m thinking of working dogs like Border Collies or the now extinct Turnspit dogs. Today people are working to keep their dogs. In my neighborhood, within a radius of 5 blocks, there are 3 dog boutiques. These emporiums; sell expensive gourmet dog food, stress reliving toys (wtf?) and dog accessories so stylish, I’m seriously thinking of adding a Swarovski crystal encrusted dog collar to my jewelry collection.
When I was growing up, feeding, walking and washing, the family dog was usually the chore of the youngest able-bodied child in the household. It served to support the child’s acquisition of some valuable life skills; such as concepts of work and reward, selflessness, responsibility, care and compassion for living things. Now we have doggy daycare centers, doggy spas (so chic they should be listed on SpaFinder) and “professional” dog walkers. I think, in the long run, the cost of this trend to contract out these tasks will be much greater than what can be calculated in dollars and cents.
Professional dog walkers are a common sight in Manhattan. Now, with the gentrification of my beloved Brooklyn neighborhood, they are here too. Truthfully, I’m just getting used to (that is to say coping with my indignation) the sight of West Indian nannies with white children in the parks and in the elevator of my apartment building. Now, I must adapt to the sight of dog walkers all over the place. I’ve learned to dodge those SUV sized strollers. Now I have to learn to navigate the narrow streets with packs of dogs.
It’s a good thing; I like kids and dogs (not necessarily in that order). It’s a good thing; kids and dogs are so very cute; otherwise it could get very ugly.