Strollers are new perk that pets don’t need
By Julia Siedlanowska, Staff Writer
“The Dogger, a dog quality product, is designed with senior dogs in mind and ensures that you and your older dog have the very best in comfort, maneuverability, and control… Built to last, the Dogger stroller is the best dog stroller on the market,” says the advertising for the Dogger. Selling for $249.95, the stroller offers rear suspension and adjustable handlebar for dog owners of different heights. This product may seem comical to you, but upon further inspection it’s not much more ridiculous than other dog trends popularized in the past decade.
The days when Dad would take Lassie out back for walks are gone, at least in the urban community; however, the relationship between humans and their canines has remained largely the same since.
I always attributed clothing for canines to the 2000s, when I saw it popularized by Paris Hilton’s chihuahua. But accessorizing your dog is a trend that has been around since King Cuo of Zhongshan, who was found buried with his dog in 309 BC. The dog was wearing a gold, silver, and turquoise collar, surely a symbol of the ruler’s extreme wealth and power. So is the seemingly practical invention of a dog stroller not a symbol of status as well?
In the age of consumerism where companies will always try to push unnecessary items onto buyers, what you buy is who you are. If you can afford a $250 dog stroller, you’ve either got your priorities mixed up, or you’ve got more money than you know what to do with. Personally, I don’t really care. The argument that we treat our animals better than we treat some people is true and sad. The reality is that people generally don’t help others unless it benefits themselves. Sure, there are random acts of kindness, but the majority of people I know don’t think about their actions in relation to the greater good. Pets provide happiness, and so we provide for them—sometimes to excess.
Then there’s treating pets like human babies and calling owners “parents.” This I do have a problem with. As dog owners, you do have a responsibility, not unlike that of parents: you are caring for a dependent being. Your pet or child requires discipline, and you require a certain amount of education before you commit to the responsibilities. I think that people greatly underestimate the value of educational books and videos. There is a plethora of information for new dog owners, and just like purchasing a new Honda requires research, so do pets.
Wonder why your dog soils the house when you leave it? Perhaps the answer lies in your humanizing it and making a great deal of your departure. When Fido looks at you with those big black eyes and you gush over him before you leave for work in the morning, you’re actually instilling a habit that will lead to separation anxiety. This materializes itself in further negative habits like peeing on the carpet, which Fido will likely be confused by later when you come home angry.
Instead of “spoiling” your dog with useless devices that inhibit its exercise, serve your dog by understanding it. Although I think a stroller is perfectly justified for a dog unable to walk, the Dogger must remain in the niche market. My problem is not with the humanization of pets, but the harm that it may cause them. Humans will always find creative ways to show their status (consciously or not), and marketers will always find a way to make us think something is a necessity. It’s our responsibility, however, to draw the line and ensure that we’re doing things for our animals’ benefit.