Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A good question

Are pets people?


Robert Leslie Fielding

  "Well, no, they're not - they're all God's creatures, but people - I don't think so!"

Animal rights activists - an ever growing, ever more vociferous group - would insist that animal rights, like their human equivalent, are written into our constitutions.  Who am I to argue with that - so I won't!

There is a lighter side to this 'Are pets people?' thing - if pets are people (see 'Pets: the new people' Debbie Schlussel Dec. 2004) then it makes sense that they get treated like people.  Kids have birthday parties and birthday presents- why shouldn't pets?

So, those of us who are on the look out for something to spend our money on - chiefly the rich and famous - (read insanely rich and fabulously famous) are lavishing their furry friends with all manner of merchandise.

How about this for extravagance - a $1,230 set of stainless steel dog bowls (from Barneys!) - a $95 necklace - a cashmere cable-knit sweater, from Ralph Lauren, no less, for about the same price - a personalized Rhinestone slide letter (whatever that is) charm collar at a more modest $12.99 - or a shiny black pet carrier with Swarovski crystal accents at $98!

  "Had enough?"  
  "There's more!"

A 'Tough Chew Dogs Nest' - I ask you - "For the puppy or avid chewer, we have doubled the effectiveness of our Dogs Nest!"  I remember the days when all an avid chewer ever got was a size nine up its tail-end!

Alternatively, you could "Roll out the red carpet, because your pet will look the part in our stunning Gorgeous Golden Jewel Pet Collar - a beautiful gold collar inset with beautiful stones." - at a fairly modest $29.99 from

As well as 'gifting' your pets, to adopt the American gift for making verbs out of nouns - pets are turning up at photo shoots in SUVs, accompanied by their 'handlers'.
  "Fatty likes to make an entrance," said Nicolette Sheridan in Star Magazine recently.
She went on to treat readers to all the details of Fatty's diet - fair enough - but "Fatty's passions and aspirations", and - wait for it - "Fatty's 'doggie diva-ness'."

Presumably Fatty's diet comes in fairly generous portions.  Fatty by name and nature? I wonder!

Next, TV shows for cats - 'Meow TV"
  "Tiddles, turn the TV on, willya?" asks owner.
  "Mee 'ow?" says Tiddles.  Don't blame me, I didn't start this 'pets are people too' nonsense.

Yoga for cats (I kid you not) in books and manuals (my cat still hasn't mastered the alphabet) - and gyms for pets all over the US - oh, so this is an American thing - now it makes more sense.

It's Americans we're talking about - rich Americans - Paris Hilton, for one, no less!

No, seriously, only loaded celebs could come up with this 'pets are people' stuff.

Us altogether more sensible Brits confine our madness towards our canine and feline friends to paying 35 pounds a day to quarantine our perfectly healthy, well-documented - comprehensively immunized pets once they set foot on those shores, and 90 pounds for the privilege  of having Tiddles taken from Dover to Heathrow Airport, where he is put in a pressurized, airy but otherwise bare hold on a Jumbo Jet while we, his owners, pay out a small fortune for a ticket that doesn't include so much as a chicken pasta salad or a cup of cappuccino - that's no way to treat an animal/person, now is it?
Robert L. Fielding


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