If asked where the most pampered pets on the planet reside most people would probably guess at Los Angeles. The city of angels is renowned for its celebrity residents and their excesses but for pets there is apparently a better place to find yourself. Hong Kong is now the Beverley Hills of the canine world where dogs are treated in a quite ridiculous fashion and enjoy lifestyles better than those of most people in the West.
There has been something of an explosion in dog ownership in the Chinese colony and many of these animals now appear to be more like status symbols and fashion accessories than pets. The response to the growing canine population has been a boom in dog related businesses to the extent that just about anything you desire for your dog is available. Dogs have their own spas, designer clothes and jewellery and can even eat at their own upmarket restaurants. It sounds like the world has gone bonkers to me.
I thought I might be guilty of over pampering my pets but at least I don’t get their coats dyed pink and inflict half a ton of diamante on them! I am never seen wheeling my pets along in their own pushchair either, apparently a common sight in Hong Kong. The vehicles are specially made for dogs as clearly your usual common or garden stroller just wouldn’t do.
There are even funeral parlours for dogs and organic bakeries selling the kind of cakes and treats that would make even a human being jealous. Gucci collars are all the rage and dogs have become firmly part of the family.
The Underlying Problem
When I first read all about this I was left wondering why the excess and why Hong Kong? It turns out that the rise of the canine status is a result of the low birth rate. The citizens of Hong Kong have few children but require something on which to lavish their affection and disposable income and so they have turned to dogs. Gone to the dogs I would say.
Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and I adore my own pets but I think it is necessary to have some perspective here. You are only doing your pets any favours if you give them what they really need or want and I don’t believe that such things are likely to include Gucci accessories, a bespoke stroller or a trip to the spa.
The Simple Life
The great thing about pets is their very simplicity. They are the perfect antidote to the stresses of life exactly because they don’t care about designer labels, fashion statements and fine dining. All they want is affection and a bit of fun, all they need is the right amount of exercise and a healthy diet. Owning and enjoying a pet is not about turning them into humans or rather applying human values to their lives. They don’t care! Treating animals in such a farcical way is just turning them into accessories and that is such a terrible shame for the animals and the people.
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and animal lover who has a sense of proportion with her pets!