Come on, admit it ― we all wish now and then we lived in the “lap of luxury.” Of course, we are perfectly happy in our little house/apartment, spending time with with family/kids/friends, and splurging on a Dove Bar now and then. But now and then don’t you think about noshing on that Dove Bar on a Paris street corner or on a deserted beach in Riviera Maya?
Alas, this little dittie is not about our lap of luxury ― it’s the lap of those who hold precious dogs and cats (and other furry little creatures) that I begin to wonder about. I have three ½ dogs ― two are mine, one inherited from grandpa, and one who spends more time here than at my son’s. I also have 2 cats adopted from Touched by a Paw. All great companions, hunters, and cuddlers. We cringe when we have to take them to the vet each year, spend money on their pills, food, chewies, cookies, ropes, grooming, treats, nail clippers, and all other paraphernalia, money that well could have taken us to Vegas. But we grin and bear it, for we love our animals and want the best for them.
Aha! Want the best for them. That is the key today. What exactly is the “best”?
Nearly $32 billion was spent last year in the pet industry. That includes vets, food, shelters, boarding, etc. That’s a lot for Bowser and Fifi. But it’s not nearly what could be spent should you do a little investigating. If I may: Here are a few of the wonderful little somethings we could also spend on our pets (and please do not move the decimals):
Mexican Hacienda Dog House: $30,000
Hello Kitty Crest Dog House: $31,660
Louis XV Pet Pavilion: $23,900
Cat Cabin: $1,398
22-K Gold-Threaded Pet Mattress: $3,000
Versace Barocca Pet Bowl: $724
Mink fur coat: $725
Pearl and Diamond Handled Pet Brush: $400
And then, for the pet who has everything (and for those of you who have a few extra dollars to spend), we have:
52-carat Diamond Dog Collar: $1.8 million
Dog tiara: $4.2 million
Now, we all know that these are purposely created as token items. No one in their right mind would walk Bowser in a diamond-studded collar or brush Fifi with a pearl-and-diamond handled brush. But just stop and think ― someone had to come up with this idea; someone had to sit in their little lab and say, “Geez, I wonder what the world will think if I design a mink coat for pets?”
Besides being a topic for morality discussions all night long, I bring this to your attention to point out the lengths we go to pamper those who walk on four legs and lick their you-know-what all the time. Besides the obvious negative auras radiating around these creations (feed the poor, donate to charities, pay off second mortgages), the thought of my dogs slobbering out of a Versace dog dish or sleeping in a Mexican Hacienda that costs as much as a car gives me the shivers. Why do humans go to these lengths to take care of those lower on the food chain?
Perhaps part of it is the feeling of “innocence” a cat or dog emotes. Those big eyes, that follow-you-around-because-you-are-my-hero antics stir many a heartstring. They are loyal, obedient, and clean (look how often they clean themselves??) They don’t trash their bedroom, drink the last soda, or spend all night on the Internet. They sleep most of the day, eat your leftovers and protect your abode from evil predators like mice and squirrels. Why don’t they deserve a generous portion of your income?
And what of those who fork out those prices to show off the love-of-their-life? For many I imagine the pet is the love of their life. Dogs and cats probably know more celebrity secrets than any group of therapists around. Who else would let you carry them around in designer purses? Who else would look so good next to your Calvin Klein jeans and Gucci bag? Who else would portray a sidekick (or main star, for that matter) in a movie and let you computerize their mouth to reflect human speech?
I suppose you could say those who dish out for the dish (oh so funny), are compensating for something. Their need to be noticed extends to their immediate family, which, for some, is only their pets. Husbands and wives come and go, kids leave home, and career opportunities appear only when you have just had a baby or have just earned three weeks of paid vacation. My mother (and others) always said where there’s a will there’s a way, and W.C. Fields said there’s a sucker born every minute. All of this may be true. It’s up to us and our common sense to find a happy middle ground, both for us and our pets.
I often think the world is upside down. But then again, maybe that’s why I’m not living in the lap of luxury. Perhaps I’d better go out on the deck and teach my dog to move her lips like a human. After all, I wouldn’t mind eating out of that Versace bowl, either…