CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I'm grateful it's no longer as embarrassing as it once was to buy Christmas presents for pets. It wasn't so many years back that we animal lovers would discreetly purchase normal-looking items -- blocks of cheese, cans of tuna, ham bones -- lest we be viewed as having more dollars than sense.
These days, there are catalogs and websites and entire departments in retail stores peddling a multitude of food, toys, bedding and fashion for our furry beloved.
Even so, there are still some who feel embarrassed about the ways we indulge. For instance, if you bumped into my daughter and me in the clothes aisle at PetsMart, you might think we're there just to poke fun at dog clothes and the people who buy them. But the truth of it is, one of our dogs, a terrier mix named Chewie (half New England Vain Terrier mixed with Common Obnoxious Terrier) has gradually assembled a wardrobe rivaling that of most humans, including the human subspecies commonly referred to as teens.
Making matters even more cringe-worthy, Chewie seems to have begun fancying himself the Blackwell of canine fashion.
Just before this current cold spell, we took Chewie to the dog park and there was this adorable boxer mix wearing a lovely white sweater, except it was ages after Labor Day so Chewie would have nothing to do with her. To be completely honest, I felt a smidge embarrassed for the poor dog myself. Colorblind, my heinie. She knew.
Then there was this Dalmatian wearing a plaid sweater -- as if you ever wear spots and plaid at the same time. I apologized profusely to the master after Chewie lifted his leg, but later, when Chewie and I were alone in the car, I told him I totally agreed with the statement he was making about following fashion rules. I might not favor his form of expression, but it did need to be said.
When he's absent a garment, Chewie's unfortunate body shape causes him to resemble a tightly packed sausage, especially with his hair cut stylishly short, which reveals more of his physique than before. It makes sense that he likes clothing, especially with the weather so cold.