According to an informal survey on About.com’s Veterinary Medicine blog — sorry if you didn’t vote yet and this is a spoiler — 62% of pet owners said “Of course” they bought their pets presents for the holidays. That doesn’t surprise me.
I’ve found, however, that those who don’t share their lives with a pet often seem puzzled by such data. And feel the need to express that puzzlement to those who do.
That is, while few people would question your purchase of a flat-screen TV or of a new car, many will feel free to second-guess the amount you spend on a living creature who gives you great joy (and doesn’t question your purchases, unless you’ve bought the wrong type of dog food).
How should you respond to such questioning?
- A pitying look, suggesting deep sorrow that the questioner is so clueless. An accompanying sigh is optional, and should only be used if you have dramatic flair.
- Questioning some of their recent purchases for their children/significant others, noting that your dog is smarter and more grateful (not recommended, but fun to contemplate).
- Inquiring how much they spent on their shoes/jacket/last restaurant dinner–anything that might be expensive–and asking if the money wouldn’t be better directed toward [fill in the name of a charity or political cause]. If your interlocutors are not given to costly or frivolous purchases and do give money to [fill in the name of a charity or political cause], you can inquire how much they’ve given to animal welfare lately. (Don’t worry; if animal welfare was one of their causes, they never would have questioned your canine-directed expenditures.)
But this brings up a valid issue of priorities. You might consider donating some money to dogs in need* instead of buying yours a new collar (or tiara; see below); dogs don’t much care what they wear.
If you’re flush enough to do both, like Leona Helmsley was, more power to you. Then again, it’s really none of my business–which is the best answer (in reverse) you can give anyone who questions your spending habits.
*Worthy animal welfare organizations will be the subject of my next post.