by Jessie Carter
Humans began domesticating canines some 30,000 years ago. Roughly 29,999 years ago, we humans developed one of our favorite pastimes: embarrassing our beloved animals. Holidays provide us with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate our collective love affair with dressing up our best four-legged friends in ridiculous costumes. Of course you should buy that giant green hat and bowtie set! Your dog doesn't just want it, he needs it. And why wouldn't you take a picture of your sleeping dog with that empty bottle of vodka and a pack of camel lights? These are the kind of pictures that come straight from your freshman year scrapbook. The only difference now is that your dog replaces you as the centerfold. Let's examine:
The Standard Green poodle: A standard poodle can run you a couple thousand dollars if you're looking for the purest of purebreds. Their haircuts, once an occupational necessity that prevented the dog from drowning while keeping them warm, have devolved into some of the most ornate and elaborate acts of humiliation ever. Show poodles can even be penalized if their butts aren't quite naked enough. These days, the fanciest poodle handlers use diamond-plated scissors, spend days working with an individual pet's essence, and run up a tab that can be hundreds of dollars. It is clear that some poodle owners are happy and willing to spend a small fortune on their furry companion. But all it takes to unravel the prestige of the poodle is one religious holiday dedicated to a man historians know next to nothing about. March 17th rolls around each year and with it comes the jars of green dye. Some owners, serious about dye jobs, strive to match their pup to the perfect shamrock. Other owners are a bit lazy and end up with an odd yellow-green mix, similar to the color of a field of dying grass. Next time you reach for a bottle of doggie dye, ask yourself if you care about your dog's feelings. If the answer is 'no,' well at least you're in good company:
Drunk Dogs: The holidays bring out everyone's desire to drink desperately in a vein effort to alleviate awkward family tension. Nothing says "merry Christmas" quite like your aunt and uncle verbally duking it out from separate rooms.
But St. Patrick's Day, though not typically a family holiday, preserves the spirit of almost desperate drunkenness nonetheless. The atmosphere of alcohol that surrounds St. Patrick's Day often spills over to man's best friend. For some reason, grown adults who are responsible for the care of an animal often enjoy posing their animal in front of tipped over beer cans. I don't have a problem with the fact that "drunk" dog pictures exist on the internet. If done properly, these pictures are funny, entertaining, and a good background for your next holiday card. But most of the pictures you'll find with a quick google search are lazy, truly lazy. C'mon, comedy geniuses. Step it up. I don't honestly believe that your dog is drunk just because he's sleeping on top of an old Natty Ice keg (and if he is, you should go directly to jail). This is a lazy form of comedy and you can do better. I believe in you.
This St. Patrick's Day, spare your dog from the boring, usual picture and leave your empty case of Guinness at home. Strap on your pup's leash and head to your local watering hole. You were heading that way anyways. Big dogs will work best at the bar.
If you have a Mastiff or a Newfie, let him play barkeep. Maybe your dog has had a rough day and is feeling less friendly. That's okay, too. Just make him sit on a stool with a pint and snap a picture. Dogs are social animals so they like to be around other creatures. Photographing your dog in the bar will serve the dual purpose of acquiring your drunken photo shoot and doing so without stripping your animal of every ounce of dignity it has.
Dog Sweaters: When the first tame gray wolves wandered into human settlements they were fed and sheltered. Eventually, as the theory goes, the wolves that were most successful at interacting with humans passed those traits on to their cubs. Over time, the cubs began looking a little less like wolves and a lot more like the dog breeds we clean up after today. Voila, humans domesticated a wild animal. With that domestication humans basically promised to feed and protect their furry friends. But the seemingly win-win situation comes with a caveat or two. I am certain that the dogs were unaware of the clause in that social contract that gave humans permission to dress their pups up like total clowns. Trust me; there is no shortage of holiday-themed dog sweaters on the internet. Pick your favorite holiday and add "dog sweater" to the end of it in a Google search. Bingo. You'll be treated to hundreds of pictures of both commercially made and homemade dog sweaters. St. Patrick's Day is one of the worst offenders. Thousands of tiny green sweaters adorned with clovers and leprechauns are waiting for you to take them home. The next time you reach for a dog sweater remind yourself that Fido used to be a wolf. Now, do you really want to dress this up like a leprechaun?
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