Mutterings: Nice Dog Stuff, Good Owner?
Nikki Moustaki |
Posted: January 12, 2012, 8 a.m. EDT
It’s raining outside as I write this. Like many urban dwellers, I don’t have a yard or a covered area where I can let my dogs do their important “business” while I stand in the doorway, dry and happy, encouraging them to hurry up so that they don’t get too wet. No, my furry gang and I are like the Post Office: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. In other words, we have to walk miserably in the rain.
I say “miserably” because none of us like it. I’m not fond of walking around in the dampness of NYC with everyone vying for space with their umbrellas-of-death. I’d wager a good guess that at least one person’s eye is poked out by an umbrella during each NYC rainstorm. The odds are pretty good.
I don’t hold an umbrella while walking the dogs in the rain because I can’t – I have two dogs in one hand and I need the other hand ready for “poo duty.” I find that a lot of people leave poo on the sidewalks in the rain or a snowstorm and I’m convinced that it’s because they’re carrying an umbrella.
Pearl and Zoey are always excited to go on walks – what dog isn’t? They anxiously bustle around the front door as I get their leashes ready. They romp down the stairs, playing and wrestling the entire way, and then skid to a stop at the front door of my building, waiting for me to catch up and attach their leashes. On a nice day, I open the door and they dart out, happy to be in the fresh air.
But not when it rains. I open the door and they step out tentatively, then stop. They gaze at the wet sidewalk as if something terrible has happened, as if they have just walked into what’s left of a murder scene. The “rain disappointment” never fails.
Fortunately, we have rain gear. My dogs have light rain gear and heavy rain gear. Their “light” rain gear consists of something called the “Pitter Patter Packable” rain poncho. It’s a lightweight, adorable poncho that scrunches into a little bag that I keep in their leash bag (along with poo bags and hand sanitizer) in case we get caught in a drizzle. These ponchos cost me about $14 each, if I’m remembering correctly (and have since lost Zoey’s poncho, so I have to get her another one).
Their “heavy” rain gear consists of snazzy, slick yellow raincoats. Pearl’s even has a reflective strip on it in case cars need to see us in the NYC darkness (which doesn’t exist, but you can never be too prepared). If memory serves me, I believe that their raincoats were about $25 each – and Pepper has a pink one that cost about the same, though I don’t walk the old guy in the rain anymore.
And what about my rain gear? I have a $6 black plastic poncho that makes me look like Darth Vader.
As we walk along the NYC streets in a downpour, people smile at the dogs in their sunny, matching yellow raincoats. I have to admit, they are adorable, and that’s not just because I’m their best friend. People point and make comments as we walk by, and it’s heartwarming to be at the other end of the leash of this cheerful duo.
Then the passersby look up at me in my trash bag, black pointed hood standing straight up on my head, face obscured by shadow, and their eyes get big and they shuffle away as if they’ve just seen the Grim Reaper. One rainy day I should carry a sickle and hold it over me like an umbrella and see how well that goes over.
Why is it that some dog owners often have top-of-the-line stuff for their dogs, but stuff of lesser quality for themselves? I know I’m not alone in this – I’ve asked around. And it doesn’t end with raincoats. My dogs have special no-spill bowls – I have a mismatched set of dishes. My dogs have their own couches – I have cheap couches (AKA, the dogs’ furniture). My dogs have two huge toy boxes overflowing with toys (and not cheap toys, either) – I do not have an iPad.
Why are we willing to spend all of our money on the dogs, but think hard about spending for ourselves? What is it about them that makes us favor them in this way? Please let me know what you think in the comment section below. And if you happen to have an extra iPad around, feel free to send it my way. It will be a long time before I buy myself one. The dogs need stuff.
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