DRESSING THE DOG
Chapter 2 (Part One)
“I like my money right where I can see it… hanging in my closet.”
– Carrie Bradshaw (“Sex in the City”)
We plodded along happily in our “semi-dressed” family for several months. I was dressed in a cute little shirt or harness every so often and the rest of the gang stayed nekkid. This program seemed to work fine and everyone was happy. Mummy was learning all about the INTERNET and had discovered a site where you could sign your little dog up for their own “page.” Your little dog could “talk” to other dogs and make friends, and this sounded like something I needed to be doing, as far as Mummy was concerned. She was putting all of her energy into my extracurricular activities… so why not sign me up for a doggie page? It was fine by me, as I had just finished up with my training class at PetSmart and I DID have a few things to brag about so I was down with the whole idea! Now, I must tell you that even MUMMY HERSELF didn’t have an Internet page, but she thought that I needed to have one… whatever. Before the week was done, I had a spot on a little dog site and was chatting it up with other little dogs. It was sort of cool if I do say so myself. One thing led to another and someone suggested a different doggie page, which led to another page, which eventually led to Facebook. Facebook would be the one to bring the whole thing to life. Lots of people were on Facebook. Mummy had never ventured into the deep realms of that domain and she had NO IDEA what she was getting herself into… but she jumped in head-first and before long, there I was. You know what they say, ‘Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess and Mummy was posting to EXCESS. There were LOTS of little dogs there and it was a fun place to meet other little dogs who ALSO wore cute clothes. It was also the place where Mummy could find the DESIGNERS who MADE those cute clothes!!! This was when the outfits started arriving en masse. I must tell you that it didn’t happen all at once, so you couldn’t really yell out, FIRE or anything of that nature. It’s really easy to lose track of things, you know? One day you are aware of what’s going on… and then 6 months later, you have no idea how everything happened! It was like one day I had a T-stand with 8 outfits and the next thing I knew, Mummy needed a walk-in closet for all of the dog clothes and everyone knew then that it was too late. Daddy said it was a kind of “sickness,” but Mummy said it wasn’t REALLY a “sickness” if you KNEW it was a sickness. Maybe in a case like that it was just an “obsession.” Either way, she kept buying the clothes and said that Daddy was a killjoy.
Mummy started traveling to “doggie meet-ups” with me in tow, where we could actually MEET some of these new internet friends in a real live, group environment. We met the most fabulously, sweet people and the cutest little doggies too. I was traveling and partying so much that my life did not even BEGIN to resemble a normal dog’s life, in ANY WAY… and I LOVED IT! Sometimes we flew on a plane, and sometimes we drove, but I was the PERFECT traveling companion. I never barked or complained and ALWAYS obeyed my Mummy. We stayed in “pet friendly” hotels and considering all of the DRAMA that went on around us, I was usually the BEST BEHAVED guest there. You would think that vacations would be a time for people to RELAX and UNWIND but this wasn’t always the case. From muffled fights heard through the thin walls, to slamming doors from across the hall, it was evident that vacations were STRESSFUL. On one of our walks past the front desk, we encountered a frazzled woman complaining that her room had not been cleaned while they were out all day. The beds were still unmade, there were no clean towels, and basically the room was in the same wreck they left it in. She was FURIOUS. She said she was cold and wet and tired and just wanted a clean room. Mummy was trying to hurry on past, but I was trying to squirm out of her arms to hear the END of the story!!!!! Then the woman’s friend stepped in and said that if she hadn’t put the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the door, maybe housekeeping would have cleaned the room. “What did you expect?” That’s what the friend said. Then it escalated from there. And not in a good way. I gave Mummy the FULL SPEED AHEAD sign and we made it back to our room in record time!!! SHEESH!
Back home, Daddy was caring for the rest of the “Yorkshire terrorists” who were happy to be out of the spotlight. Daddy sometimes came along on the doggie meet-ups but he was content to take care of things on the home-front while Mummy and I mixed and mingled. The “meet-ups” were always an interesting phenomenon. They were held in all sorts of places… sometimes in an outdoor dog park, sometimes in a party room specifically for dogs and sometimes in a hotel conference room. Since no one knew one another, everyone was very cautious at first, and made sure there was plenty of “exploratory sniffing” before playtime. Almost all of the dogs were under 10 pounds with only a few being over 20 pounds. I wasn’t a barker myself, but let me tell you… it could get pretty noisy at times. The constant yapping was enough to wear out a Saint… but I held firm and muddled through and after a while, things would settle down so that we could all enjoy each other’s company. Most of the smaller dogs wore cute little outfits of some sort… either a t-shirt, a harness or a little play dress. This was the moment that the mommies loved… when they got to dress their little dogs, and oooohhhh and ahhhh over all of the other outfits and swap designer names! Even the little boys got in on this fashion craze. Now before you start thinking that the dogs were being tortured with all of this couture, let me assure you that not a single dog showed the first sign of discomfort. Many of the smaller dogs already wore harnesses for walking, since by that point Mummy had learned that collars should never be used on small dogs due to problems with a collapsing trachea… so for that reason, I wore harnesses most of the time myself. Lots of the other dogs wore a t-shirt or light sweater at home for extra warmth because there were several little tinies in the group and they could get a bit chilly. But the dresses…now THOSE were reserved for special parties! These little dresses were some of the most elaborate creations that you can imagine. Your outfit would normally need to match the occasion you were attending, but there were some Mommies who just went over the top. I was always “dressed to the nines” to be sure, but there was one little doggie who surfaced at several of the events and would wear the fanciest of gowns to a darn BBQ! There she’d be, trotting around the yard barking, ‘Hey everybody, look at fancy me!’ and usually someone would mention to her mom that it was just a BBQ and not a Sweet Sixteen Party. We usually went to two or three of these doggie events a year and since there were not any doggie groups in our area, this always required traveling.
Not long after my arrival, we added a new addition to our family… little Katie Scarlett. Mummy was excited to have two girls to dress up and take with her to these doggie events, but Katie had her own plans. Katie was almost 10 months old when we got her and she was VERY SHY. She hadn’t had much interaction with other doggies and we needed to slowly introduce her to our family before trying her in group settings. While Katie didn’t mind wearing a little t-shirt or harness, she didn’t really like having her picture taken like I did… but she was a little snuggle-bug from day one. She loved to be carried around or curled up in someone’s lap but she didn’t like loud noises. The main issue that surfaced with Katie was that she was always fickle about her food. She either REFUSED food all-together, or she would throw-up all the time. I swear to you, that kid would throw up WATER! As more time went by, Mummy thought that perhaps she needed to be GENTLY indoctrinated into society and perhaps a little family trip was in order. We would try and encourage little Katie Bug to come out of her shell with some extra TLC. It all looked great on paper, so a trip was planned to drive up north and visit a few friends. It would just be Mummy and Daddy and me and Katie. Very low key. No dog events… just see a few friends and get away from home. This trip would be marked by events that would not be forgotten by ANY of the people who witnessed them, or even those who HEARD ABOUT THEM later. Even now, when Mummy retells the story, it makes people cringe and say, WHAAATTT??? But I swear to you, I was there… and every word of it is the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH, and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH… so help me!
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