Wednesday, August 3, 2005

A Dog's Life

Am suffering some cognitive dissonance between my love for animals in all shapes and forms and my misgivings about the way humans in the first world increasingly deify them (and even this deification is, in my mind, a kind of twisted projection of self onto the animal and therefore not even a genuine form of care for the pet). A recent trip to a pet store to get some supplies for a dog I was minding absolutely alarmed me. Rows and rows and rows of pet paraphenalia which (from what I could see) said more about our own narcissism than any legitimate cat or dog need that I could discern. This included designer clothing that started in the $60 - 80 mark, bowls that ranged from $15 - 30, designer label frisbees and so on. The shop was chockers and clearly does great trade.

A few days ago I went to the supermarket to get some things and I was astonished to find the pet aisle bulging with new products I've never seen before - enriched cat milk, lactose free dog milk, anti-oxidant enriched nibblies, little cute tins of gourmet dog food with smatterings of chargrilled peppers or pesto for the discerning mutt. And at the same time, I realised it was also pension day because the place was just CRAWLING with old people who were obviously getting their fortnightly food supplies, checking prices carefully, buying frugally and so on. It really upset me. Really really REEEEEAAALLY upset me.

On the weekend, an article appeared in the paper, It's an organic dog's life - no bones about it, a story about the rise in people buying organic foods for their pets along with a photo of "Smudge" the dog sniffing at some "Moroccan Chicken" on a table laden with "a smorgasbord of organic temptations" - as if Smudge gives a flying **** about the exotic cuisine. Remember that we're talking animals who like to bury dead stuff that they will dig it up later to eat.

And these well dressed dogs then spend most of their time isolated in small urban spaces (unless, of course, they go to "doggy day care" which has structured programs of entertainment for the canine sensibility...).

Is it just me, or is something really wrong here?

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