Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why People Put Sweaters on Dogs

This morning, it is chilly in my house and my little Boston Terrier, Corky, is cold. I can tell because he is curled up very tightly in the bathroom rug. For a moment, it crossed my mind that he might need a sweater. That was it.  I had a momentary thought about a sweater and then moved on to the business of the day. It is not likely that Corky will ever wear a sweater. It is not that I don't care if he is cold. It is not that I couldn't make him a sweater. It is a matter of where I am in the game of life.

If I had owned Corky when I was single, the dog would have had a sweater. In fact, he would have had several and one of them would have been some macho cowboy outfit for him to wear when I took him to walk at the lake. When I was first married, the dog would have had a sweater. I would have probably ditched the cute one and left him in a black watch plaid or a herringbone as I focused more on my home and my husband.

When I had one or two children. The dog could have still had a sweater, though it probably would have stayed on him too long between washings or it might have languished in the laundry for days while he wished I would get my act together. That would have been a good time for this theoretical dog to learn what Corky knows well. That is how to wrap up in the bathroom rug!

Corky is a real dog who lives with us and is loyal in spite of our craziness. He came into our lives in the midst of our son's kidney transplant and major upheaval. He was a tiny waif and actually did have a sweater thanks to our dear friend Sara. I suspect that Sara feared for his safety and health and was trying to save his life. Corky survived us and out grew that sweater, never to wear another one.

We really do love Corky. However, if love is measured in doggie apparel we will never get a passing score. Well, maybe, if Corky lives long enough for all the children to get grown. When there are no human booboos to tend, no large meals to serve to hungry children, no complicated schedule of 4-H and Driver's education, and no multiple medical and dental appointment days, things could change. If, at this point, I have a few brain cells left, I could notice Corky's shivering geriatric form wrapped in the bathroom rug and offer to take a trip to Petsmart and buy him a nice cable knit, Mr. Roger's type sweater. The zipper would make it easier on my arthritic hands.

Back to the theoretical dog. If he survived the early sweatered years and the middle years of benign neglect, he very well could find himself at the stage of once again wearing clothing. He could be having his own little dish of ice cream every night and his name might have gradually been changed to "Baby". He probably would be invited to go in the car and sit on the furniture. The grandchildren would be warned not to bother Baby's toys, which might even be stored in his own doggie toy box.

Real dogs don't last long enough to experience all the stages in the life of a family. Families who love dogs always wish they did. Rudyard Kipling expressed this wish best in this poem. Corky is middle aged and bedraggled from years of love. Knowing what I know about dogs and how short a time we have to enjoy them, I should probably start knitting a sweater for him. Or maybe, I will just throw an old towel over him and light the heater.



Lisa said...

I LOVE this article that you wrote. I can so relate to the way we treat our pets at different points in our lives. We recently had to put our sweet golden retriever, Molly, to sleep. We are now looking forward to the labradoodle puppy that will be joining our family July 1. It probably won't ever have a sweater either. Hopefully, we will manage to groom her, as needed!

Anonymous said...

You made me laugh and laugh! I didn't know you could write humorously, also! Seeing the picture of Corky after reading this was priceless. And I had to navigate to Kipling's poem, which was also a delight. Thank you for brightening my day!

Your friend J again

2 Moms of a Feather...Stick Together said...

that does it....
I am officially going to become your book writing agent...
I guess your first book should be...
one of short stories of animals & children...or you could write two separate people. They could be worked on at the same time.
Now I must go....and find a publisher...or we could do e-books or self publish it...
ta ta (for now)
Love your agent,
Mommy 2
P.S. You may either use your "real" name OR pick a pen Mommy1

Anonymous said...

I have a book by Mr. Kipling that my dad read to be as a child. I also actully have witnesses that on more than one occasion you have offered this beautiful sweet dog to me. If I would have taken him from your happy home, I would have only provided him with a fleece vest. I am greatful he has a bathroom rug.

Anonymous said...

I found your blogspot because you told me to read this blog while you were at my house yesterday. All of your animals are hilarious. I think if Corky were my short haired dog, I would buy him weatherproof booties so he could go outside to do business without getting his paws wet. And a matching cowboy scarf that matches his personality so he could eat with that squished face without it dribbling all over. He looks like an easy keeper. I do like your walk this morning too (6/13)... neat picture. S.L.

Lawana said...

You are all so sweet and funny! Thanks for writing! It encourages me. You may have a hard time shutting me up now.

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