Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dogs in costume: Cruel or clever?

Liam does not look like a happy dog in his costume
Every year, I dress up my pug for Halloween.  Previously, he's been dressed as a flower, a spider and a dinosaur. This year, he will be dressed in a tuxedo (a look he debuted at a party we held a few weeks ago). 

Why do I do it? Because pugs are well-known for tolerating costumes. They love to be the center of attention, and Liam quickly learned that clothing on a dog makes humans squeal with delight, and want to pet him. (He does best in costumes without hats, however, as he doesn't seem to like to have his ears covered. I learned that with this costume, which made him a little unhappy when he first tried it on.)

The Oregonian recently covered the topic of dog costumes, including some great tips on how to choose an outfit and where to take your dog once he or she is all suited up. It's all good stuff, but the most interesting thing about this link, in my opinion, is the active discussion in the comments section. 

Many people still consider dog costumes a form of abuse. I couldn't disagree with this statement more. 

My pug loves attention. He lives and breathes for people to notice him. Wearing a silly outfit helps him do just that. 

Additionally, dogs have no inherent sense of pride. They do not look at themselves in the mirror and think, "Boy, do I look silly. I wonder what the guys at the office will say." 

Liam knows the costume means extra treats, extra attention and extra affection from random strangers. Seems he can't lose here.

As a parting comment, I posted this picture of Liam in an online contest. People voted for their favorite Halloween picture. We won, with an amazing number of votes from people who do not know me or Liam. Clearly, people find animals in costume cute and charming.  The trend is here to stay. 

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