Christmas shoppers in a northern Toronto IKEA were startled when they saw a monkey wandering down the aisles dressed in a stylish shearling lined suede coat.
There are pictures. The monkey has a nicer winter coat than I do. It was buttoned up to the neck, but it would not have surprised me to see a cashmere sweater set underneath, or some leather gloves in the pockets.
Personally I oppose exotic animals as pets, but the monkey was dressed for the weather, so I am hoping that it is an indication that it is well cared for.
Pet wardrobes are big business. Pocket piglets and teacup poodles alike are blinged out with dresses and coats and hats to rival fashion week.
The miniature well-dressed pet is the new arm candy. In Beverly Hills and New York, some dogs and cats have formal attire to rival the red carpet regulars. Bedazzled with real gemstones and faux fur coats, they wear their owners like their accessory as they strut down Rodeo Drive and 5th Avenue, more than willing to commit their fashion “faux paws”.
At home in their exclusive gated neighborhoods and doorman buildings, they sleep in tiny canopy beds and get their toenails painted and their teeth cleaned and brushed. Their paws rarely touch pavement as they are carried to the limousine for their ride to day care. They have birthday parties and play dates, even weddings. It is not unusual to see them seated at elegant dinner tables and allowed to sip from fine crystal.
Cut to the four dogs that I have right now. They could have posed for the famous picture of the poker playing dogs. They live outside on my farm and sleep in the barn. If they had a wardrobe, it would consist of flannel shirts and doggy tattoos. Seating for dinner would be at a picnic table where they’d burp down beer and chew at ticks and fleas.
My dogs are rescues…animals no one wanted. While I don’t dress them, they all have human names, an homage to their personalities. Oden weighs in at 135 pounds. He is a mastiff lab mix that someone abandoned at the dump. His head is the size of a gorilla’s, and his shoulder stands at my hip. I’m certain he was left because they couldn’t afford to feed him anymore. He’s the size of a small pony.
The day we met, it was pouring rain. He was sitting next to the dumpster, his paws crossed in front of him like a proper gentleman. My son opened the pickup door and he stood up, yawned, and climbed in like he had been waiting for us all along. A gentle giant, he has been with us ever since and has never once wandered off. If I were to dress him Hollywood style, it would be in a top hat, vest and monocle…like the guy from the Monopoly game.
Mabelline, a Great Pyranees mix, was found out by the dam. They called to see if I would come and get her. Seems she didn’t like men. She forged a bond with my ex-husband, who didn’t like dogs. Though neither acknowledged each other, they were inseparable. If I dressed her, it would be in an old moth eaten fur coat, a lace collar, a string of pearls, and a tiny derringer tucked in her pocket.
My daughter “found” Jemimah on the side of the road as a puppy. I found out years later that she was being given away out of a box in front of Walmart. I always had my suspicions. She is needy and whiney and always pushing to the front of the pack for attention. She’d be dressed in bad jewelry, showing too much cleavage, with her skirt hiked up way too high.
Bella came to us as a puppy after her stray mother was hit by a car. She was only a few weeks old when we got her and she insisted on running with the big dogs. She is street wise and quick and would definitely rock some leather and motorcycle boots. She probably wouldn’t make it through a metal detector.
Our dogs are just not fashion forward. My mother did have a chihuahua who sported a sombrero trimmed with ball fringe that she wore when she went outside in the sun. The little monster would turn herself inside out if you tried to put a collar or leash on her, but she stood perfectly still so her sombrero could be tied under her chin.
Though my dogs are living au natural, I did put a Santa Claus hat and beard on my daughter’s cat Buster last week for a holiday picture. We had to stop him from contorting backwards out of the Christmas collection by wrapping his arms in a blanket. He was less than thrilled. I am guessing another pose with the elf hat and collar are out of the question.
Humanizing animals is nothing new.
The hieroglyphics of the great pyramids depicted animals adorned with precious metals and gems, given human and godlike stature. They were an indication of the past and a foretelling of the future.
Or maybe that was just the desert version of Rodeo Drive and 5th Avenue…it gives “paws” to wonder…pun totally intended.
Surely in the centuries to come, visitors to my cyberpyramid will understand that only certain dogs and cats and monkeys in the 21st century wore designer clothes, sunglasses and diamond necklaces…that it is simply a reflection of the silliness of privilege and in no way an indication of the state of our being or a prediction of our future.
Day 346…big enough to admit that I’m totally jealous of the monkey in Canada with the shearling coat.