Thursday Thirteen – 13 Essential Things Every Dog Owner MUST Have
There are lots of things dog owners can disagree on, like “dog parks, yes or no?” and “Spay/neuter – before six months, or after?”, but they can’t disagree with my list.
Seriously. This list is it – the stuff you’ve got to have if you want to be a loving, modern day urban dog mommy or daddy.
1. A pocket full of photos
It is essential that, when someone notices you are buying 75 pounds of organic gourmet dog food, and makes the mistake of asking ‘So, what kinda dog do you have?’, you are able to illustrate your answer with visual aids. Think Jewish Bubbe with pictures of the grandkids, only more fur (unless you own Chinese Cresteds, or the Jewish grandkids have Hypertrichosis). Photos of your dog with Santa earn bonus points.
2. A specialized, obscure diet that no one else has heard of
As mentioned above, no one who really loves their dogs would dare to feed a commercial food, and especially not the dreck sold in supermarkets. These days, however, you can’t play one upsmanship with the cool kids at the dog park unless your pet is eating a diet so obscure that even the park bench experts give out an impressed ‘oooooh!’ on hearing about it. Raw feeding is fine, but raw feeding wild caught salmon hand processed by Native peoples is even better, and Aboriginal made Kangaroo protein based food is a pretty close second. Bonus points is you can insert the words ‘wild prey model diet’ into the discussion, and even more of them if you can answer the question “Is it expensive?” with “Well, if you have to ask…”
Just like today’s non fur children with their Baby Genius DVDs, today’s fur kids need toys that do more than just amuse them. Toss out those tennis balls, and get your dog a toy that will build their IQ. The Canine Genius line, for example, features toys that connect together to ‘form puzzles’. Today, chew toys – tomorrow, the New York Times Crossword. In ink.
Gone are the days when only teeny tiny pocket puppies wore clothes. Today’s fashionable dog of every size needs a wardrobe of clothes suited to every type of social situation. Jerseys for sporting events, coats for cold weather, rain slickers for damp days, bathing suits for… umm… lounging poolside, I suppose. For those of us who prefer downtown to uptown, choose from a selection of ‘edgy’ punk rock fashions for your dog, because nothing says ‘Anarchy Now’ like a Yorkie in a sweater.
Do not mistake costumes for clothes, or visa versa. Costumes are for letting your dog show off their creative side, and can be broken out for almost any occasion. While not de riguer for Dobermans, one simply cannot own a Pug without a corresponding closet full of costumes. Pugs are to costumes what Beverly Hills children are to Petit Tresor – you can’t have one without the other.
Heaven forbid that your dog should have to eat tacky, stale, store bought ‘cookies’ from a box. What kind of negligent dog parent are you? Do you know what kind of additives and preservatives are in those? Responsible fur mommies and daddies cook for their dogs, preferably with organic ingredients and co op farmed vegetables. If you’re a slacker fur parent, you can buy fresh made cookies from Three Dog Bakery, but only if there’s one in your neighbourhood, and only if you can live with the guilt of shopping at the soul sucking, corporate Starbucks of the Pet Supply industry.
7. A specialist veterinarian – or six
Yes, I know that when you were growing up, your local vet was a crusty old geezer who only treated Shep when he was on his last legs. Times have changed, however, and your dog now needs to be treated by the veterinary equivalent of a primary care clinic. One specialist for surgery, another for acupuncture, an herbalist for separation anxiety, and a physio coach for recovering from those nasty pulled muscles your dog got hiking trails on the weekend.
Like you, your dog leads a stressed out life. He’s still traumatized by your break up, he has issues related to his early weaning, and there’s the lingering suspicion that he was raised in a less than nurturing environment. Sure, you could drug him – there are a myriad of designer drugs that your vet can prescribe, but isn’t that just covering up the underlying issues? Shouldn’t your pet address them head on, instead of repressing them? Of course he should, so you need to get him a therapist, or risk having him resent you forever – and who wants a passive aggressive Yorkie with mommy issues?
Fine, this one really isn’t essential, but if therapy isn’t working, perhaps it’s time to dig a bit deeper into your dog’s traumatic past – way, way, deep, all the way into his past lives. Was your dog a pampered pet of royalty? A worshiped Egyptian God? A rat catching gutter cur? Find out, with your pet’s own past life reading. Also useful for chatting with Shep, thus allowing you to apologize for the truly poor quality store bought food your mom and dad fed him.
10. Fancy shmancy collars and leads
No self respecting dog parent is going to stick their pet into a nylon webbed Petsmart Monstrosity. After all, collars and leads are where we truly get to let our dog’s creative side fly. Frou frou bejewelled designs for the Pampered Poodle Princess, Spike and Bones gear for the tough guy Terrier with a hip side, or Diamond encrusted platinum necklaces for the dog who inherited Leona Helmsley’s fortune.
You know that deep inside your dog there’s a budding literary genius, just waiting to emerge. Why not let him express himself on a blog? After all, can the world really have too many dogs talking in faux baby speak about twips to the evil vet? Of course not. Plus, if you’re lucky, your dog will blog like Johann, instead of one of those baby speaking nitwits.
12. A custom selected, dog friendly vehicle
No one made fun of your friends when they went searching for a car with their new baby in mind, so what’s wrong with picking out your new ride with your dogs in mind? If you’ve spent a Saturday on your hands and knees trying to steam clean out the mess your car sick Coton left after the drive to Grandma’s house, you can relate to the wisdom of buying a vehicle that’s free of carpet. But what about crate height? Places to store leads? Fear not, intrepid car shopper, for there’s website out there just for you – DogCars.Com. With reviews of vehicles written from a dog owner’s P.O.V., it’s your one stop place to find the perfect car for you and your Goldens.
Hint: Honda Element
You simply can’t own any one breed of dog for an extended period of time without giving in to the irresistible urge to start adorning your home with breed specific knick knacks. It starts out simply enough – one day, someone gives you a tasteful little statue of your breed. Soon enough, you’re peering around at flea markets, looking for unique little items you can toss casually on your shelves, the better to showcase your love for your breed. Oh, you set limits – no chalkware, nothing from post war Japan, and definately nothing made out of netting, but it never lasts, trust me. One day, you’re going to wake up and discover you’ve spent a week’s salary and change for a papier mache grotesquerie that scares children and makes your friends worry about your sanity. After that, it’s all downhill to chalkware and carnival prizes.