23 thoughts on “Words fail me

  1. I don’t get it…

    The ‘buy a new toy’ part seems needlessly capitalistic (though dogs do like new toys). But the rest just seems like good advice for how to be a responsible dog owner. Am I missing the joke?

  2. Perhaps i should put the toys in. I didn’t think it is humorous. It was the commercialism of trying to create a day on which humans feel they have to buy things for their dogs.

  3. It isn’t funny. It’s just an example of a kind of , IMHO, insane commercialism to pick a particular day and then try to make people feel they need to spend money on their dog for that day. Among other things, unlike Mother, Fathers and Grandparent, dog’s don’t keep track of these thiings on ccalendars. Your dog is not going to care if you miss it or are a few days late.

    Perhaps if I had a dog, which I would like to, I’d feel differently. As it is, I live with two creatures who firmly believe that every days is Cat’s Day.

  4. Obviously, they put a picture of a cute (and obedient) dog in the ad.

    What are they going to put, a photo of a dog going to the bathroom on your best rug?

  5. The items are overpriced yuppy items and it has a consumerist feel to it, but that is nothing unusual. I don’t find this particularly outrageous. My dogs have a fuzzy cave and a mat to drink on, though I spent less on both. I’m not sure, still, why ‘words fail’ you.

  6. The idea of a National Dog’s Day where dog-owners are urged to spend money on their dogs strikes me as a good case of a potential parody becoming reality. What’s adds to it for me is that the recipients don’t really give a sh*t about dates.

    I was lost for words because it seemed chocked full of bad ideas designed to ramp up guilt as far as I could see, and I didn’t think it was worth the effort to try to analyse them. It’s actually a rather ugly effort that is wrapped up as a cute package.

  7. Of course this is commercial exploitation, and cynicism about its motives are more than called for .

    But as a former dog-“owner”–I hate that term but grudgingly acknowledge its apposite use given our acculturated relationships with our preferred portions of the animal queendom–I was struck by the fact that the recommendations were humane at least as ordered. A commitment to walk a dog every day is a very hard and real one, but immensely rewarding. My last dog, Burton, a Welsh Corgi (you can deduce the name), was probably the dog of my lifetime, and may well be my last dog since I don’t see that I could “replace” him with a younger, cuter version (draw larger conclusions of any variety if you wish). We walked every day, 3 times a day, for a dozen years. I calculate that we walked across the US, doing his business (with bags of course) all the way. My life was improved in so many ways through this physically, mentally, emotionally as a kind of loving day-in, day-out zen that his presence in my life provided. So maybe the email was sent for purely commercial purposes, but it got the values of ordinary pet-human relationships pretty much right at the top.

  8. Alan: “it got the values of ordinary pet-human relationships pretty much right at the top”. Awww, word. This, and your whole post, are so much nicer a way to say what I was trying to say in my first comment.

    As the companion (hate ‘owner’ too) of a 13-year-old and an almost-14-year-old pup, I was moved by your long-haul perspective. And as commercial and cynical as the motives may be, I welcome any reminder to people of how to do right by our fuzzy charges.

  9. Hurray for dog friends.

    It takes effort for me not to buy mine all kinds of things, even though I know that ‘love=presents’ is a bad equation. But really, it is the company, walks and snuggles that make us both happy.

  10. Alan,
    Kinky Friedman quoted Irving Townsend in a piece of his about the loss of Cuddles:
    “We who choose to surround ourselves
    with lives even more temporary than our
    own, live within a fragile circle;
    easily and often breached.”

    I expect there’s a dog out there who would love to be with you.

    Just to be clear: it isn’t the sentiment I object to; it is rather the use of it to get people to spend money. And designating a date.

    That the date coincides with Women’s Equality date leads me to want to paraphrase what a friend of mine was told at the UN some time ago: you can do dogs in the morning and women in the afternoon.

  11. What the marketers don’t understand is that when you have a dog in your life every day is Dog’s Day!

  12. Thanks to all for the kind remarks. I really miss Burtie but if I get another dog some day, I think it will be a Corgi. Best personality a dog could have.

    But I do agree the senders of the email could be a bit more tactful than overlapping (that was not meant to be a pun) Women’s Equality Day.

    I do have a good companion in the meantime, a 10-year old b&w shorthair stray who wandered into my garage as a little kitten and whom I named Willie. (That’s short for Slick Willie–he had beautifully slick fur as a kitten and said to him, “Do you like Slick Willie for a name?” And I swear he perked up and seemed almost a priori to recognize it. So Willie it was. BTW his full name is William Jefferson Kitten.) Great cat. So I’m a cat as well as a dog person.

    Again, thanks. I love this blog mainly for the high-bar of civility it sets. Pretty rare these days.

  13. @ Alan – As my 13-year-old pup slows way down and can no longer keep up with or stimulate my exceptionally fit and lively 14-year-old pup, I’m thinking it may be almost time to introduce pup #3 into the mix, and corgis are tied for the top contenders. Fabulous dogs. I think you and I have similar dog relationships :)

  14. Thank you Rebecca! Burtie was such a good dog. I honestly don’t think I could be with another but a Corgi. Idols of the pack I guess, to reinvent Bacon.

    But i also want to weigh in for an earlier kitty in my life. (Sorry Willie!) Buggs was a Manx, and more dog than cat in so many ways. I still remember him in his youth skedaddling off the piano bench with a full chocolate-chip cookie in his mouth. But when the end came so many years later, he was so sick, and the night before he died I took a pix of him sitting beside Burtie, whom he loved, and I woke the next morning to find him beside my bed to die as close to me as he could. If anyone thinks that these creatures are our inferiors, then they need to rethink what the concept of inferiority entails for our own vaunted existence.

  15. Into the praise of furry creatures, I would like to enter the imperial Rosemary, who is my current avatar. She was a tiny, bright Siamese cat who followed the siamese tradition of total attachment to one person. It was quite a burden, but I felt very honored nonetheless. She had deep lavender eyes, and a courageous spirit. She’s the only cat we’ve had who has tried to climb straight up a set of bookshelves. It’s harder than you may think, since their strength is not in their forearms. We gasped as her little body swung back and forth from the 4th shelf.

  16. Words fail me when I think of how open people are about expressing their tender feelings and love toward their pets, because, as far as I know, very few would be so willing to express unconditional love towards their spouses or parents or friends.

    Are people ashamed or abashed about loving their spouses and their parents (people are willing to express unconditional love towards their children, I know) or is it too hard to love another adult human being?

    It is certainly easier to love a dependent creature, a child or a pet, with all one’s heart.

  17. Just thought it worth noting that my local animal shelter is celebrating this special day for dogs with discounted shots and other health services — so for the non-profits, it’s about care not dollars.

  18. Um, s.wallerstein, there’s approximately 10 gazillion movies, tv shoes, novels, poems, etc about loving other adult human beings – i.e. about 99% of all the cultural products ever created – although I think it would be a little creepy and empty to actually love one ‘unconditionally’.

    Love for spouses, lovers, friends, etc. is – to put it mildly – overrepresented in people’s public expressions. As for parents – well, let’s face it, they are vexed.

    You’re right that it’s easier to love an animal than a person undividedly. They are less complicated critters. And so it goes.

  19. Rebecca:

    So it’s easier for us to love less complicated beings (or beings we imagine to be less complicated) in undivided fashion.

    Are parents “vexed” because they’re complicated? Is the problem with loving parents in an undivided fashion that we are dependent on them (the original relationship) and that they are independent of us, “free” to give or bestow affection and attention and hence, perceived as “complicated/vexed”?

    I’m a parent and a child, so I represent no special interest group here and I don’t see it as a moral issue.

    By the way, I note that children used to love parents in an undivided fashion or at least pretended to love them. Are there fashions in what human or non-human (pets) group one loves or pretends to love in unconditional fashion? In some cultures today, people at least pay lip service to adoring their parents, especially their mothers.

  20. “Children used to love parents in an undivided fashion” – Except for Oedipus. And King Arthur. And Hamlet. And all the Jane Austen heroines. And Luke Skywalker. And most fictional archetypes ever. I would’ve thought these have resonated so much over the ages because it’s *never* been uncomplicated to love your parents.

    Whereas dogs. . .are the best. End of story.

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