Killed by Kindness: The Depressing Side of Designer Dogs

Social Commentary

Killed by Kindness: The Depressing Side of Designer Dogs

Illustration: Akshita Monga

There are two types of dog owners: those who see them as companions and pets, and those who see them as furry extensions of their narcissistic selves. The latter are responsible for the confused Lhasa Apso you saw at the mall in Louboutin booties, a bedazzled cape, and a diamond-studded collar with a tag that said “Princess”. It is this sorry pooch who will soon check into India’s first dog hotel, Critterati.

To understand the problem with a dog hotel like Critterati, consider the wolf. Sleek, powerful, predatory, and graceful – Nature’s killing machine. Seeing how humans domesticated them and employed selective breeding to get a lazy, short-of-breath, purse-sized pug that probably needed a stunt double for the Vodafone ad, you’d think we’d draw the line for humiliating canines somewhere after we reached the Chihuahua.

If turning an apex predator into a lapdog wasn’t enough, certain people, who for the purposes of this article we shall refer to as Dogtators, decided to impose a reign of terror on their hapless pets. This involved the mushrooming of an industry we now know as “pet care”. What began as innocent grooming soon devolved into all-out insanity, with dog spas, dog manicures, dog couture, and even fucking dog yoga (doga!) becoming legit ways to spend money on your pooch. This is what happens when you decide to have pets instead of children.

It seems Dogtators aren’t content with giving their dogs a happy life (ie: walks, food, and hugs). Instead, they want their dogs to live like Mini-Mes which possibly stems out of deep fear of not finding a person to love them as unconditionally as a dog does, so they take an animal who’s fond of sleeping in the muddiest corner of the compound, and check the good boy into a VIP suite with velvet beds. The same pet that spent hours fascinated by a sprinkler system will now have access to 24-hour television at Critterati. Dogs can visit a spa, knock back some non-alcoholic beer, and visit a hair-stylist, all in the same day, as if they were a bored builder’s housewife.

You’re a Dogtator if you call yourself a pet “parent” rather than an owner

See people, dogs are simple animals. Give me a tennis ball and an energetic puppy, and we’d both be in seventh heaven for a week. Then we’d need a new tennis ball and we’d start again. Dogtators don’t seem to understand this. By this point, you’re also wondering, “I bought my dog a wind-up toy, am I a Dogtator?” You probably are.

You are a Dogtator if you bought your dog a birthday cake. What’s the point if your pup is still going to think whatever in your plate is worth begging for instead? You’re a Dogtator if you’re giving your dog clothes for any other reason than weather protection. Look, they’re already pretty freaked out by their reflections in the mirror, why would a bow help? You’re a Dogtator if you call yourself a pet “parent” rather than an owner. That’s the biggest warning sign of them all. This is how the madness of treating your pet like Honey Boo Boo begins. Please remember, dogs aren’t like humans. They’re better than us.

Still, I don’t want to tell the Dogtators how to spend their money, and if they think pampering is what their pooches desire, then more power to them. There is a positive side to this situation, and that is how it allows people like me to dream of having a career where the only job requirement is “Must love dogs.”