Monday 30 August 2010


Oh boy, things are running amuck in China. Apparently the newest trend in the pet world is for dog and cat owners to dye their pet to look like something else. If you didn’t get a sense from the Olympics that the Chinese were operating on an entirely different aesthetic plane then the rest of us, then I can’t help you.

One set of owners in Beijing have turned their dog into a neighborhood celebrity with his dye job; they claim that they ‘love him so much’ they wanted to set him apart. Attention seekers. According to them, his newest makeover in which they’ve made him resemble a panda bear, has increased his self esteem – apparently he loves all the praise he is getting…Um, how the hell do you know? Did Mr. Panda Dog tell you this before he asked for his morning kibble?

The first of many questions that spring to mind…if you own a dog, why aren’t you happy with a dog? And if you want a panda so badly, go get one. It’s China, they must be hanging out on every corner. This new trend sweeping the pet circles has meant that dogs are now being dyed to look like various animals other than what they are: tigers, pandas, turtles, even Haibao – the blue mascot of the Shanghai World Expo. One pet store has a dog in their window that looks as if it’s wearing a bikini. Why?? Wish I could tell you….Boredom? Insanity?  A quest to turn one’s domestic animal into pop art? Whatever it is, it’s serious business and they can’t fathom why this doesn’t make sense to the rest of us.

Animals that undergo this process can often be looking at a makeover time that lasts over eight hours. Eight hours! Even the greatest spa day I’ve ever been to did not last that damn long. First the dog’s fur is bleached, then washed, dried and finally dyed in whatever design their owners are torturing them with that day. Some pet stores even dye animals so that they look like other breeds to obtain a higher sale price. Sucks to be a mutt, I’ll tell you that much.

The problem is, currently this whole process is not regulated and the dyes they are using have not been tested for pets – calling PETA, stop harassing celebrities and get over to China! The dye can of course be absorbed into their skin or ingested when they clean themselves and can often be fatal. One storeowner’s response when asked why this whole process was necessary was that often these makeovers could help a pet’s self image. I may be naïve, but I wasn’t aware there was such a rash of self esteem problems within the world’s pet population.

Due to the fact that people in China now have our money, sorry, I meant more money, they are throwing cash hand over first at their pets – cause apparently bills, food and well, electronics are now deemed passé. Some pet stores even offer other beauty treatments such as a rose spa bath where they bathe your pet in rose petals and luxury soap. Dear lord, I’m booking a ticket to China and strapping on some dog-ears. That sounds divine.

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