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Tag: halloween

Today’s question: Can dogs be humiliated? The answer is tutu clear

bulldogtutu

Attention all you “dog shamers,” all you dog dresser-uppers, all you dog-dyers, and anyone else who finds it fun and harmless to put your dog in a costume, use him to make a fashion statement, or ridicule him on social media.

You may be making him feel silly, and damaging his self esteem.

The Telegraph reports that animal charities in the UK are calling upon pet owners to cool it when it comes to decorating their dogs.

Among those quoted in the story was Caroline Kisko, the Kennel Club’s Secretary, who said the organization is “not greatly in favour of doing anything to dogs which makes them feel ‘silly.’ Dogs know when they are being laughed at.”

Not exactly a bold stance there — “not greatly in favour?” — but then again the Kennel Club sponsors Crufts, which in 2009 chose this poodle as winner in the Utility Group:

Apparently shaving a dog to resemble a bunch of poofy cotton balls is an accepted exemption from the “let’s not make dogs feel silly” rule.

Hypocrisy and poodle cuts aside, we think Kisco makes a valid point when she says dog owners need to strike a balance between what is done for the dog and what is mere “human vanity.”

“It is not a toy and we need to maintain that a dog is a dog,” she said. “Since we can’t ask them we should err on the side of caution … Why is it suddenly OK to dress a dog up in silly clothing or dye it?”

The answer is social media, which has made such practices, if not more frequent, at least more noticeable.

Decorating dogs is nothing new. I’d guess even ancient Egyptians did it — because it sounds like something right up their alley. But since Facebook and other social media came along, it has brought out the attention-seeker in all of us, to the point that — even if it’s not Halloween — we’ll post photos of our dogs looking silly or doing something silly.

doghamedThat’s not always “mocking” or “ridiculing” them, but often, particularly with the dog-shaming sites, it comes pretty close.

I’ve long had a problem with people dressing dogs for any purpose other than protection against the elements. I draw the line at bandanas, which my former dog almost always wore, and loved. My current dog, Jinjja, won’t let a bandana anywhere near his neck.

Some dogs tolerate getting adorned, receiving dye jobs, and funny haircuts; some don’t. But, as Kisco points out, even a dog who doesn’t visibly object may still be getting humiliated.

“Some will have a reasonably high level of tolerance for that sort of thing. You can get a dog that will love being the center of attention. But some will feel silly. Outfits come under the same banner – whether it’s a silly collar or whatever.

“If someone wants to put a bumblebee costume on their dog for Christmas, that’s fine, but take it off again. The dog doesn’t want to be a bumblebee …”

Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, told The Telegraph that she had a problem with grooming techniques and dyes that could cause discomfort or irritation.

“It’s important that dog owners, and groomers, remember that dogs are not fashion accessories to have the latest trend tried out on them, grooming is for the dog’s needs rather than for the owner’s entertainment,” she said.

And Elisa Allen, a director at PETA in the UK, is quoted in the article as saying, “Dogs aren’t bonsai trees to be sculpted into shapes that please us. Many are nervous about being groomed, and dyeing them bright colors puts them at risk for allergic reactions and even toxic poisoning, which can have serious and even fatal consequences.”

Before you start thinking those groups have peacefully united to pursue this cause, keep in mind that the only place they seem to have come together is in the Telegraph article, and that — if there is any newsworthiness here — it’s that there is something all three groups agree on.

PETA regularly crashes Crufts, and the Dogs Trust has blamed the Kennel Club and Crufts for promulgating breed standards that don’t just make dogs look silly, but makes them unhealthy as well.

The article may make it sound as if the groups are harmoniously working hand in hand, but that’s about as likely as a bulldog doing ballet.

What happens when you dress up for Halloween as your dog’s favorite chew toy

For your Halloween viewing pleasure we present a California dog named Jolene, coming face to face with a life-sized version of her favorite chew toy.

Jolene’s owner, Emily Crisp, thought it might be fun, for Halloween, to have her boyfriend, Ben Mesches, dress up in a Gumby costume.

He walks into the room as Jolene is enjoying some time with her Gumby chew toy. Jolene looks up and registers a look of what can only be described as wonder and amazement.

She cautiously, at first, approaches the life-sized Gumby, jumps up on him, and proceeds to go crazy with joy.

Mesches, of Petaluma, initially posted the video to his Facebook account. On YouTube, it has gotten, nearly 4 million views in two weeks.

Happy Halloween, Jolene, and everybody else.

A full-body leotard for shedding dogs

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This is not a Halloween costume for your dog, though it could work for one.

And it’s not a full body version of the ThunderShirt, though it could work as that, too.

It’s not made for dogs with body issues, or to hide embarrassing skin conditions, or to keep them from delving nose first into regions of their body that are best left alone in polite company — though it could work for all those things, too.

harleyNo, this doggie leotard, sort of a combination between onesie and Snuggie, is called the Shed Defender, invented by a man who got tired of cleaning up hair shed by his dog, Harley.

According to the website for the Shed Defender, Tyson Walters was inspired to make it after he moved back home after studying at San Diego State University.

“I needed a solution to control Harley’s hair; it was everywhere,” he says on the website. “I had tumbleweeds of her hair on my hardwood floors. My car was close to ruined because of all the hair intertwined in the fabric. There was nothing I could do, just brush and brush and brush, and yet that still wasn’t enough.”

sheddefender2At first he had his mother start sewing a prototype. Then he turned to a professional seamstress.

The outcome, he says on the website, is a “flawless design that is not only effective, but also allows for a comfortable fit for the dog.”

It is made of a “lightweight, breathable, stretchy athletic mesh that does NOT make the dog hot.”

The Shed Defender is priced at $44.99 for a small, up to $59.99 for an XXL.

A video on the website shows how easily it can be put on a dog, and advises one to take special care when zipping it up, especially in the groin area.

“Once you take it off just shake it out or throw it in the dryer to remove the hair.”

The outfit leaves the dogs tail and rear exposed, and it can be partially unzipped when the dog goes out to pee.

They come in a choice of vibrant colors, and Walters is reported to be contemplating adding a line fashioned like sports team jerseys.

(Photos and video from Shed Defender website)

Let a squirrel carve your pumpkin this year

You say there’s just no time to carve a pumpkin this year?

Why not let a squirrel take over the job?

We suspect some tricks were used behind the scenes to accomplish this — maybe some well-placed smears of peanut butter — but this video shows what the average squirrel is capable of, with a little direction.

And you thought their creativity was limited to getting into the bird feeder.

I love you just the way you are

You can call me Fuddy Duddy. You can call me Party Pooper. This Halloween, like every Halloween, I find myself put off by the effort, and money, we Americans put into dressing up our dogs for the occasion.

In trying to figure out why I feel that way, I can pin down four reasons.

One is the annoyance, and safety risk, elaborate costumes can cause for dogs. Two is that our dogs, though they might register their displeasure, don’t get to vote on being dressed up solely for the amusement of ourselves. Three is we’re tinkering, if only for a night, with something that’s already perfect. Dogs don’t need costumes any more than Mona Lisa needs a makeover.

And four is the pipedreamy thought that the $300 million we spend on costumes for pets every year could do a lot of good if it could somehow be funneled to some worthy dog-related cause.

A not-overly-elaborate costume, worn by a dog for a few minutes, doesn’t bother me. But we tend to take things to extremes when we get into decorating mode — resulting in using dyes to make them look like other animals, or, as in the case above, TV characters.

“Creative dog groomer” Catherine Opson appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Tuesday night, showcasing five of her designs — a dog  transformed into a koi pond, one dyed to resemble a leopard, one zombie, one depicting nearly the entire cast of Sesame Street, and another depicting characters from the Simpsons.

Her work is impressive, and a small part of me thinks it’s kinda cool. She uses safe dyes, and the dogs, at least while on air, didn’t seem too humiliated (though they were mostly poodles).

But the larger part of me (and I’m not referring to my stomach) can’t help but feel a little troubled by what seems our increasing tendency to, more and more elaborately, decorate our dogs.

Every October, the news media, websites and blogs go nuts when it comes to costumed dogs, promulgating more of the activity. (ohmidog! is proud to be the only dog blog in the galaxy that has made it, until now, all the way to Halloween without doing so.)

If there is any creature that is entertaining and endearing enough just as it is, it is a dog. If there’s any creature that doesn’t need a makeover, it’s a dog. If there’s any creature we should be able to accept, savor and celebrate just as it is, it’s a dog.

OK, OK, a dog costume, but just one

BigBoyz

 
You may have noticed that we’re not real big on doggie Halloween costumes this year. We have some issues with the whole idea of costuming pooches — and encouraging the practice — that we are still working through.

That said, here’s one I just can’t pass up. Having eschewed — yes, eschewed — the costume contest at BARCStoberfest, I missed this entry (but spotted him on the Baltimore Sun’s “Unleashed” blog today). It’s Tito, a local Chihuahua, dressed as the ubiquitous pink and yellow Big Boyz Bail Bonds pen.

If you’re not from Baltimore, you might not be familiar with the company, or the fact that its pens — in a true stroke of marketing genius — are everywhere.

Big Boyz Bail Bonds orders more than 500,000 pens a year and provides them for free to bars, restaurants and shops all over town, and all over Maryland.

Dog pumpkins: How Martha Stewarty is this?

pumpkindogIt’s as easy as buying a pumpkin, going on line, downloading a stencil of your dog’s breed, transferring the stencil onto the pumpkin, hollowing out the pumpkin, and then spending an hour or so, I’d guess, delicately carving out your dog’s likeness.

It looks like something that crafty Martha Stewart would come up with and, for all I know, maybe she has. But the stencil used to carve this dog came from Good Housekeeping, which offers about a dozen breed stencils for free downloading

You can also vote for your favorite one, or learn how to create your own stencil.

Happy carving!