I read an article this morning about a lady who is lavishing £600 on her dog for Christmas. She is happy to disclose at the same time that her partner is only getting gifts to the value of £100. While I don't wish to criticize her, I can't help feeling that this situation is wrong on many levels.
For a start - and perhaps most importantly - your dog does not want money lavished on him. I'll say that again, because many people feel guilty that they don't have the cash to splash on their dog - your dog is not interested in your money. Yes, he wants and needs a bed, food, collar and lead and hopefully a few toys, but beyond that he is not interested in material goods- unless they are good to chew or snooze on of course. What our dogs really and truly want is us. They want company, affectionate, fuss, play, companionship; that is what our dogs yearn for. That's why they do that joy of dance when we come home. That's why they watch sadly as we leave again. That's why they nudge us to stroke them, and why they plop tennis balls hopefully at our feet - they seek interaction.
A dog could live in the most expensive and luxurious dog house in the world; but without interaction he would be totally miserable.
Also I have to question £600 (that's over $900) being spent on fripperies - like a blanket that cost £150 for example. I don't mean to be a killjoy, but wouldn't most of that money have been better going to support dog charities? There it could have made a difference, possibly even between life and death. For dogs stuck in rescue cold hard cash can change things, but of course only when it is translated into food, toys, human resources; one of the most valuable supports you can give to you local shelter is your time, so again there's no need for guilt if you can't donate huge sums of money.
Why is her poor partner only getting one sixth as much as the dog? Does she only love him one sixth as much? I don't think gifts are all about the price tag, and I do think many times it's the thought that counts, but why rub the poor fellow's nose in it like that? Don't get me wrong, I love my dogs (and all my animals) I absolutely adore them, but I absolutely adore my family and friends too. There is no way I would make fish of one and fowl of the other. (That's an old English expression meaning to make much of one and less of the other, but I have never figured out which is the good one - but I hope you get the gist!)
The real problem with this kind of attitude towards dogs - making little demi-gods of them - is that we lose the true essence of what our dogs are. They are not furry humans; and that is not a bad or sad thing, that is the joy and brilliance of them. That is what entrances us about them, and that is why they offer us such devotion and support; such selfless love (in my opinion). I dislike the term "furkid" as it does dogs such a disservice. I've said before that I do in many emotional and practical terms see myself as my dog's parent. I do not however see my dog as a child or child substitute. Yes I love them, yes I strive to meet their needs and give them the best life possible, but that is the best life as a dog, not as a human. They need boundaries and leadership, as well as love and compassion. They need training, discipline, and care, and while these are all things that children need, these need to be applied to dogs with relation to their particular needs.
Here's a couple of quotes as food for thought on this subject. John Holmes said, "A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such." One I really like is by Martha Scott who says, "Don't make the mistake of treating your dogs like humans, or they'll treat you like dogs."
Dogs are dogs. There are not many things better in the world than a dog, and just like Mariah Carey at Christmas all they want is you.