Last week I watched a woman buy two kilos of pork and veal mince at AC butchery in Leichardt for her dog.
“She loves it and it makes her coat shine,” she explained, accepting scant change from a $50 note.
This pooch pamperer is typical of a new legion of Sydney dog owners who treat their furry friends not like a member of their family, but better. On weekends they can be seen at inner-city cafes treating their little buddies to doggyccinos and the equally absurd doggy biscotti. Then they hit the park, unleash designer leads and hover behind Coco with a plastic bag at the ready.
These dogs have health insurance and are routinely given middle names to go with their Facebook and Twitter accounts. During the week, teary owners drop them at overpriced doggy day care and then spy on them at work via webcam, ensuring they are getting plenty of opportunities to chase their own tail.
Growing up in the 1970s on a bush suburban block, our dog never experienced any such five-star treatment. In those days, dogs freely roamed the streets, were washed once a year and were only seen inside the house if they’d snuck in. If a dog had mange, he wasn’t whisked off to the vet for an extensive treatment of pills and ointment, he was simply a mangy dog.
Ted, our hapless pint-sized bitser, got the rough end of the stick when we went overseas to live. He was left with our next-door neighbours, whose only duty of care was to plonk half a can of Chum into an enamel bowl of an evening and then give Ted a quick pat on the head. This routine lasted for six months.
I can’t fathom what Ms Pork and Veal Mince would make of what we did to poor old Ted. I surmise that she’s the type of owner that would take Coco off to the dog psychologist just for dragging her bum on the lounge room carpet while they’re trying to watch The Voice.
I’m also sure she’s one of the many who happily pay 150 bucks to sit in the entertainment centre and watch some goateed lunatic dog trainer from America tell them something that I’ll happily tell you here for nothing: you need to walk your dog more.
Unfortunately, despite their efforts to elevate man’s best friend to a higher plane, it’s a fruitless exercise. No matter how many pet Pilates classes they’re put through or how overly groomed they are to resemble Olivia Newton John in her “Physical” film clip, nothing is going to stop any pooch from the unsavoury act of sniffing random dog poos down at the park.