Sadie, shortly after she agreed to be my dog...not my road to riches or fame.
One of my blog readers sent an e-mail asking me if I’d heard of a certain woman in New York city who aspires to be the next “Martha Stewart of Dogs” I wasn’t sure if this woman had committed some sort of canine crime and was serving time or if she was selling a line of custom high thread- count covers for dog kennel beds. Turns out neither were the case. She’s using her dog to garner attention from celebrities to herself and in turn support herself in a style that she loves and purports that any dog would love. Something she’s done for a long time. This friend proposed that I should “partner-up” with this women in order to sell more copies of my book, THE DOG DIET, A Memoir. No, thank you very much, this is not the world that Sadie and I live in…read our subtitle…”what my dog taught me…” not what my dog bought me.
Did Sadie and I ever set out to become rich from writing a book? No, and a good thing that is because we have not been disappointed! However, at each and every book event, whether in New York City, or Nitro, West Virginia, we have been delighted to meet regular people who allowed a dog to rescue them by taking a simple trip to a shelter and brought home a best friend for life. We were not interested in glomming on to some celebrity whose handlers take care of the dogs’ every real and imagined need, and when in the company of the star owner, are held captive in the latest bejeweled designer bag in places that are the last environment in the world a dog would enjoy.
When I was approached by a large company that sponsors great shows for women and offered a chance to bring Sadie and speak at these events I made it clear. IF at the first event I realized that Sadie was uncomfortable, scared by the noises and crowd, then she would not be attending the others. IF any part of the traveling or accommodations didn’t allow her time for exercise and dog stuff, she would stay at her boarding camp and a large poster of my beautiful girl would have to suffice.
Turned out, Sadie was a natural star herself. She loved the people she met, she was the reason the hotel (one I’d stayed at many times before with NO upgrade) switched our room to a lovely large suite. She was the reason when we checked in we were greeted with a gift basket of dog treats and bottles of water and directions to the local dog park as well as maps for great dog walks in the city and restaurants where she would be welcome to dine outdoors with me. And the thing about Sadie is that she just loves to be with me. That’s good, because I love being with her.
We employ no dog handlers at our home, no walkers, no gourmet chefs, no dog behaviorists or whisperers. We are a team of two, eating together, dogercising each day, watching birds and chasing squirrels. Sadie used to go to work with me…down the hall to our home office where she had a loveseat in front of a window with a power line outside that squirrels traversed--- frequently pausing to taunt her. She watched out the window to the neighbor’s yard and when the dogs next door came out, she ran to the kitchen door…it was her morning break so to speak. She, like all those workers we see smoking outside of office buildings, had to get out and get the latest gossip from her canine cronies. Now she goes out the door with me each day to her “dog school” for the day and I go to work. I am so lucky to pick her up at the end of each day and we go home together.
One of this woman’s projects that’s available is a MUTT MAKEOVER! What this entails is beyond me, but I know this…the only living creature needing a makeover when I was lucky enough to get Sadie to agree to be my dog, was ME. She was perfect in every way as most dogs are when they are loved, trained properly, and integrated into a person’s life. I was a woman needing comfort and a new direction in life, and it came on four little puppy legs with a whole lot of soft hair.
Celebrities all too often see dogs as mere accessories. I’ve seen a video clip way too many times of Brittany Spears in the midst of a crowded, noisy dance floor clutching a very tiny shaking Chihuahua puppy. Think that dog asked to be there or was licking its’ little chops waiting for a dogtini?
And Paris Hilton surely caused the stampede of young girls to get out and get the smallest dog they can find and sling it over their shoulder in a knock-off designer bag to look cool. This celebrity animal accessory craze in my opinion is also responsible for the huge problem with small dogs being bred in puppy mills, sold at exorbitant prices, and being dumped at shelters when they inevitably become sick or no longer fit in the designer bag.
This after all is America and free enterprise is one of the wonderful benefits of living here. It just makes me madder than I can express when this need to be seen, need to rub shoulders with those perceived as rich and famous, need to move up from the have category to the have-more category involves innocent living creatures. The “Doglebrities”, mainly women who use their dogs to garner attention to themselves, hop into any photo op with a real or perceived celebrity, make careers out of using their dog for their own advancement. Many of them have no actual employment beyond using their dogs in any and every way imaginable for their own personal gain.
My dog Sadie never needed a makeover, but she did make over my life. The lessons of love, patience, and joy we learn from our dogs are endless. I do believe their happiness and right to live a dog’s life is stifled by enterprises such as this person creates. Her goal to be the Martha Stewart of the dog world seems both shallow and sad in a world where like it or not, we are at war, people are losing their homes at record numbers, and the need for health care is critical. Making over mutts, staging elaborate “charity” events that involve wannabe’s walking a fake red carpet, somehow seems very inadequate in such times or anytime at all.
Will dogs go out of style like last season’s Prada bag? Where do the purse puppies go then? When this woman and the huge pack of others just like her have exhausted all avenues of turning canines into cash cows…then what?
For those of us who know the endless wonder of sharing our lives with our companion…thankfully these are questions we will never have to answer.
Causes Patti Lawson Supports
All causes that are kind to people and animals.
The Worthy Project
Animal Legal Defense Fund