Valentine’s Day, apparently, is no longer just for lovers. It isn’t enough merely to get roses or chocolate for your sweetheart. There are so many other “Valentine’s Day Specials” to choose from: the standbys of candy and jewelry, of course, but also heart-shaped pizzas, heart-ornamented boxer shorts, and an overwhelming variety of toys–in any color you like as long as it’s pink. And let’s not forget the plastic frog prince that sings a romantic tune (batteries not included).
One of the ads that caught my eye this week showed a variety of cute little Valentine’s dresses—pink with ruffles, red with white dots, red with cute sayings, and white lace with pink bows. A model, wearing one of the outfits, was posed gazing back over one shoulder at the camera.
The model looked embarrassed. The model was a dog. A little terrier, it was certainly cute enough, although its whiskery little face and jaunty moustache didn’t quite go with the pink ruffles it was wearing.
The doggie dresses—excuse me, the non-gender-or-species-specific items of “pet apparel”—were priced at $6.97 and available in sizes extra-extra small to medium. No large or extra large. At least the manufacturers must have realized that putting a pink ruffled dress on a German Shepherd or a Doberman would be a really, really bad idea.
I don’t know why the idea of special Valentine’s Day clothes for pets should have taken me by surprise. After all, I must admit to having personally forced innocent animals into clothes—and hand-me-down clothes, at that. When we were little, my sisters and I tried from time to time to dress various hapless kittens in our doll clothes.
Some of the more patient kittens would tolerate this fancy-dress indignity for a few minutes, though I don’t remember any of them staying in the doll bed or the wagon where we tried to put them. Some of them—the skinnier or quicker ones—would crawl out of the clothes at the neck faster than we could manage to get their sharp-clawed little feet through the sleeves.
Sometimes one of these reluctant fashion felines would escape and flee into the space under the front porch. Then we would have to either try to coax it out with a scrap of food or just wait around until it decided to come out on its own—and hope it was still wearing the clothes. I’m sure the remains of several decades-old doll dresses could still be found under that porch.
At least, due to my hands-on experience, I understand why the photo in the ad was of a dog and not a cat. My experience also tells me it’s doubtful that the average pet would fully appreciate receiving its own special Valentine’s Day dress.
Of course, if you really wanted to get your pet something special for Valentine’s Day, you could take advantage of the offer that’s been advertised for the last two weeks in front of a local veterinarian’s office. The sign reads: “Special for Lovers—spay or neuter one pet, the second is half price.”
Is it just me, or is this something of a mixed message? Still, you must admit it would be a Valentine’s present of the most personal and intimate kind. And after all, nothing says "I love you" quite like a gift that will last a lifetime.