On that note, when I went to look for the store that sells sexy things in Sausalito , to buy Jan's bachelorette party gift, I found it was turned into yet another store selling, in my opinion, ridiculous things for pets, and my two are in no way deprived, but, really. Anyway, here is Mark Morford on the subject.
Dog Water, Tastes Like Chicken
Premium, meat-flavored bottled water for pets: silly trifle, or hot sign of the apocalypse?
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Oh my God do I love dogs. Love-love-love them like Jesus loves chocolate and I happily admit that I am and will forever be a Dog Person despite how I don't yet have one of my own, and I adore the large sleek breeds to such a degree that I deeply respect their innate, you know, dogness, and hence I hereby vow to treat them exactly like dogs and let them romp and lick each other and eat random stuff they find in the park without me knowing about it.
Thusly respectful and attuned, I also vow to take it one step further: to not overindulge my future dogs, feed them well and train them solidly and set strong behavioral boundaries. Translation: I vow to avoid the increasingly common, rather insufferable practice of naively anthropomorphizing them to the point of abject nausea.
You know that point? Have you seen it all around? It's that juncture where people somehow let their canine adoration combine with the fact that they have no children, thus inducing the bizarre mutation of perspective whereby these lovely small-brained scavenger-beasts with soft eyes and limited emotional range and thick coats of furfy hair actually transmogrify into oversheltered spoiled-rotten human babies.
Here, then, is a new product. It is yet another line of premium bottled water. But there is a catch (there is always a catch). Did you already guess? Yes, it is premium bottled water ... for dogs. And cats.
It's true. This water even has a name: Molli's Choice. It is actually available in flavors/scents ostensibly "designed" to appeal to your pet: Beef Tenderloin. Bacon Delight. Roasted Turkey. Roasted Chicken. Yes, it is meat-scented water. Even your dog is right now going, WTF? Like Britney Spears to new moms, like Dubya to presidential integrity, like Hot Pockets to actual food, they make all sensible dog lovers look bad.
It's also just sort of embarrassingly unnecessary. As if quenching his sheer dumb animal thirst at the garden hose wasn't enough to make your dog blissfully happy. As if a world teeming with roughly 1 billion unclassifiable odors wasn't already a wondrous canine olfactory buffet. Did you know that dogs have over 200 million scent cells? And that humans have a mere 5 million? The last thing dogs need is for their water to smell like synthetic cow. I'm just guessing.
But, you know, whatever. Hell, we gullible humans already buy upward of $9 billion worth of bottled water annually, despite how the vast majority of it is merely refiltered tap water dumped on the chump's market by those grand purveyors of processed toxicity, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
What's more, it doesn't take a social scientist to note how all the upscale pet boutiques and extravagant animal treatments that are all the rage today (Americans spend a staggering $34 billion on pet supplies annually) merely reflect a culture whose basic needs are so overly glutted, so ridiculously overfed that we apparently can find nothing better on which to spend our money than bacon-scented water for a species that needs it about as much as a bird needs stemware.
Pet health spas, pet massage clinics, holistic pet medicine, boutique dog cookies that look better than anything from your local bakery. Designer accessories, diamond-studded collars, couture pet clothes, furniture that costs more than anything at Pottery Barn. There is, so far as anyone can tell, no limit to the silliness.
It's no secret that happily childless pet obsessors eat this stuff up, even though most dogs would actually love nothing more than a romp through a garbage bin and a swim in a lake and the bone of a large dead cow to gnaw on before rolling in a pile of rotten fish and taking a long nap on the lawn.
But since capitalism always trumps perspective, who's to chastise Molli's Choice for whoring out to this demographic? And what's more, if such pampering of pets means people will require fewer children in our overpopulated, Bush-torn world, can that be such a bad thing? More spoiled Chihuahuas, fewer babies. Not a bad trade-off, you could argue. Or rather, I could.
This, as usual, is the overarching question: Is there some sort of threshold? Some sort of point where all the excess and the overkill becomes so silly and surreal and ridiculous it all collapses in on itself and the gods decide to smite us all dead with a sigh and a giant lightning bolt? Didn't Rome burn because Nero was too busy sprinkling sacred rosewater on his cat? I'm sure I read that somewhere.
I would not care, you would not care, no one would care about any of this except as some sort of passing fancy, some sort of shrugging jaded yawn, were it not for the fact, repeated by animal behaviorists and dog writers such as the excellent Jon Katz and Cesar "Dog Whisperer" Millan that treating pets like people and spoiling them rotten and attributing to them a range of human emotion and psychological need they don't really have is, actually, quite bad for them.
It's true. Treating dogs like people causes all sorts of behavioral problems and health issues related to ill-respect for their animalness, from overly preening pet parents who can't control their temperamental animals, to the placement of a weird and terrible sort of pressure on the creature to behave and respond in ways of which it is simply incapable. It is, in short, a form of animal abuse. Not to mention just terribly silly.
But again, whatever, right? It's just bottled dog water, after all. Far worse examples of excess and bloat in the world, you might argue. I mean, have you seen the Cadillac Escalade XL? Las Vegas? Nicole Richie? Did you know the upcoming Lexus 600hL parks itself and has a backseat that reclines and gives you a massage? Did you know there is an American company that exports bottled water to fancy Japanese nightclubs, puts it in ornamental glass bottles and glues Swarovski crystals onto the cap and sells it for 50 bucks a pop? I'm just saying.
Here is the thing: You have merely to notice. You have merely to make a tiny entry in your mental and spiritual log, the one that tracks those lethal little details of the culture that would seem to indicate gleeful and unbridled cultural prosperity but that also, somehow, simultaneously indicate a weird sort of decay, a willful subjection of natural law, a sad spiritual hollowness. What, too dramatic? Nah.
Ready for more Morford? Mark can be seen (and heard) in various Bay Area theaters starting Friday, September 22 through Sunday, October 1, as part of writer/comedian Johnny Steele's "War On Error," a progressive political comedy show. See JohnnySteele.com for details!