Dogs have long been known to be man's best friend. Surely, then, we should treat them with the utmost respect and dignity? Obviously we want to show off our pride and joy, but with the ever-rising popularity of dog shows, are people going too far to show off their canine friends? There is a disturbing trend emerging for extreme grooming and it appears that people will go to any length to grab attention and ensure all eyes are on their dog.
Dogs as Fashion Statements
As bizarre as it might sound, people actually appear to be treating their dogs as fashion accessories, rather than living animals. Celebrities have promoted the trend for some time by carrying around tiny dogs wherever they go, as if they are designer handbags. What's more, when carting them around gets too much, they just squish them inside their bag and leave their little faces poking out the top for the paparazzi to get a good shot of them. Naturally, these poor little pooches are dressed accordingly to match either their owner or the handbag.
The attention-grabbing trend is promoted further when dogs are dressed head-to-toe in designer gear. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of a decent dog jacket. We have a quilted one for our miniature Yorkie so he doesn't freeze on his winter walks and he loves it. But it's practical and simple, not encrusted in diamanté with a designer name scrawled across it. While I was in New York in December, I saw a dog dressed up as Father Christmas, complete with a little hat, waist belt and tiny brown boots. Boots for dogs?! Whatever next?
Grooming or Reinventing?
I thought that was just a one-off case of a slightly barmy woman mistaking her dog for a dress-up doll and thought nothing more of it. But then I saw something that made me realize there are people out there who have a whole different idea of dressing up their dogs. Take the fine example below to get just the briefest idea of what people like to do to their dogs in the name of style:
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is in fact a Labrador dressed as a tiger. Lilo the "tigerador" was decorated in "animal safe dye" for a four-year-old tiger-lover to enjoy at her birthday party. Lilo is stuck with the new coat for a good few months before the owner, 22-year-old Matt Curran, plans on having it re-done with something different. He said: "We're thinking a zebra or something next time. It's something different."
I'm not really sure why he can't just visit a wildlife park if he wants to look at different exotic animals, rather than using his poor dog as a sketchpad.
New Levels of Grooming
Now that is a hideous idea in itself, but when you start talking about intergrooming, you realize that a bit of dog painting is really not that big a deal, in comparison. This intensive grooming concept is carried out by the die-hard dog groomers of the world, in a bid to win the coveted Intergroom Creative Challenge. May I introduce you to Josh:
I'm not even sure what breed this dog is supposed to be, but rest assured there is a canine in there somewhere. He has been turned into an eagle and I can honestly say I have no clue what they've actually done to him to make him look like this. It's hard to tell what is the dog's own hair and what has been added on. But the poor pooch surely can't see past his artificial afro?
This gorgeous Airedale terrier is now a Muppets monstrosity, with a Gonzo for a tail. What on Earth would possess someone to dress up a dog like this? But it seems that there are actual shows devoted to this kind of thing. It's just another prime example of animal exploitation for the entertainment of humans.
These images appeared online after it was announced that hairspray would be allowed for the use on dogs at Crufts. Now, personally, I think that's a bit much. Dogs aren't meant to wear beauty products, nor do they need them. They look gorgeous when they are healthy and clean, not primped and primed to within an inch of their lives.
However, with 3,000 of these intergroomers turning up to showcase their "skills" at shows, is it just a matter of time before this "style" starts trickling down to the more well-known shows? Will we have a fancy dress award at Crufts in the future? For the sake of the dogs, I seriously hope not.
Now, I'm off to let my dog roll around in the mud and rejoice in the fact that he is free from fragrance, faux fur and frilly skirts.
Image credit: http://www.goldcoast.com.au and http://www.mirror.co.uk
Dog owner Lauren Sutton would never groom her dogs to the extremes of this article, which is written on behalf of UK pet accessories supplier Easy Animal.