Saturday, July 23, 2016

DOGS, The Real Thing

Wow, it's been a while since I did a blog post, but you know how it can be . . . Life just happens sometimes.   I had been thinking about starting in again with my blog, but what pushed me to begin NOW are the multitude of stories lately about dogs and cats being abandoned or turned over to Shelters.  
I understand about a tight economy . . .  trust me, an Artist knows all about a tight economy!  But I'm hearing about people handing over their pets because   ' We don't have time for it' or 'It's old and can't keep up with us anymore' . . .  that sort of thing.  And worse, MUCH worse, are the people who simply move and leave their pet alone without care, who tie them up outside a store and walk away, or dump them on the side of a road.  What, I wonder,  do they have in place of a heart?  
I have to wonder if fashion, in a small way, contributes to this wave of callousness.  So many of the lovely dogs I'm seeing these days are wearing a 'Fashion Clip' of some sort.   What started out as easy maintenance clips for long haired dogs has morphed into making the dog look like a stuffed toy.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not against clipping a dog because it's a breed/mix that requires ongoing special grooming such as a poodle, or to make it easier to care for, although I have to wonder why anyone would get a long haired dog in the first place if they don't want to do the grooming.  There are, after all,  a  great many beautiful short haired dogs out there.  
We have Shelties, and that means Mega-fur.  We never, absolutely never clip or shave them unless it's for medical reasons and then they lose the least amount of hair possible.  Their coat helps keep them from the cold obviously, but in it's own way, it helps keep them cooler in the summer too by acting as an insulator, keeping the sun off their skin. Aside from that health reason, dogs like Shelties, Collies, and so many more were meant to have the huge or long coat.  It's part of what makes them  the wonderful breed or mix that they are.

I wonder if making a dog look like an anonymous fluffy stuffed toy isn't nudging people to see them as a non sentient stuffed animal, something to be played with until it becomes inconvenient, outgrown, or  worn out.  This is NOT a crack at the Pet Grooming Industry. They are an important part of the Pet loving world.  It's a comment on the clip fashions people are asking for.  Sure, the dog  looks cute, adorable, cuddly, with its little button eyes, black bead nose, and sculpted outline.  But there is a real animal in there that feels, needs food, exercise, affection, training, care and loyalty from the person who took on the responsibility for them in the first place.
If you just want something cute to carry around, go for it . . . get a stuffed toy.   This is a toy dog.


This is a real one.        

We need to keep remembering the difference.  We need to be able to commit to responsibly caring for and loving a dog (or a cat) for their whole lives before we decide to become a pet person.

Until next time, 
Heather Anderson          The Dog  Art Gallery on Etsy

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