Pet Accessories & Other Musings

Well, FlexPetz has still been coming up in the news and I had a few musings about the topic of rent-a-pet which is part of the pet craze (aka craziness) sweeping affluent society (read: those who have more expendable income).

Now I am going to generalize here by saying that people don’t seem to want long term commitments and although they like the idea of a companion animal, they want it easy and convenient.

Tons of animals end up in shelters–millions (12 million according the the ASPCA last I heard) and most problem animals just need a bit of training, attention, and activity to be great pets.

The dog fancy really took off in the Victorian Era after the Queen began appearing with a Pekingese. I see similarities today with celebrities and their pets. Are we really so besotted that we are going crazy?

Pets have become the new furry kids but also they are appearing more and more like living dolls or accessories–and that worries me.

Granted, I am happy animals are more important to people but I also would like them to be recognized for who and what they are–different creatures from humans and not some accessory for the day, weekend, or event.

My musings started on this topic after last week’s blogosphere comments about FlexPetz but also because this next weekend is the Second Annual Pet Fashion Week–a blend of pet industry products and fashion. The title is a bit misleading since the fashion shows take place on the weekend.

Anyway, take a gander at some of the photos (courtesy of the Pet Fashion Week website gallery) and let me know what you think. The still photograph was taken by Daniel Gagnon (see more) while the runway shot was snapped by Traer Scott (see more) Beautiful photography…

Above: Canini 2006 Photo by Daniel Gagnon

Above: American Pup 2006 by Traer Scott

If you want to see these models in action visit this link at Pup Style with Dara Foster or view the official Pet Fashion Week video collection. I imagine they will have the new 2007 videocasts up shortly after the shows this next weekend.

Pet Fashion week raises money for a variety of charities and this year guests will have fun while helping to raise funds for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, an umbrella organization for over 130 animal welfare organizations. Legally Blonde is the theme and the cast of the musical will be attending the kick-off party (read more).

So beyond Pet Fashion Week…this article talks about some of the current pet trends but I take issue with the statement by Tom Berger that says,

“I read somewhere that, not too many years ago, 80 percent of dogs lived outside. Today, 80 percent live inside…”

That is certainly not true in my area of the world. Maybe it is in some cities but I’d be more comfortable with a source on that statistic. Anyone have it?

Finally, here is another article about custom pet furniture for animals living in the lap of luxury

So, give me your thoughts about this topic…do you think pets are becoming accessories or valued family members?…what works for you and what irritates you? I’d love to read your comments.

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  1. Believe it or not I think that both are happening – both an increase in pets as family and an increase as accessories.

    The family pet is on the rise as education from pet welfare groups, etc. continues to make progress. I’ve always considered myself to be a “good” pet owner, but when I think back to childhood, I’m surprised how much my family didn’t know that I’m aware of now.

    However, folks who see pets as “property” seem to be hopping on the bandwagon, seeing “adopt a pet” as a fashion rather than a responsibility. Those who love their pets truly benefit, and perhaps those who don’t love animals are trying to find an easy way to capture that experience.