Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Just Don't Get It

The list of things I just don't get grows ever longer. Sometimes it's my fault: I haven't kept up, something slipped past me, I should have been paying attention. Sometimes it's by design: the moment a middle-aged middle-class square like me gets rap music, it has by definition lost its reason to exist. I like that about it. But sometimes . . . sometimes I'm pretty sure the world has simply gone mad.

Like last weekend, when I saw one of these:
A woman walking her dog in a stroller. Now, this wasn't the first time I'd seen it, but it was the first time I'd really noticed and thought, "That's nuts!"

Sure, some dogs are old or infirm, and being wheeled around is their only way to experience the outdoors. Great. That doesn't account for the many manufacturers and vendors of dog strollers that seem to have sprung up overnight, nor the many apparently healthy, vigorous dogs I see in them.
I mean . . . they're dogs! I've never known a dog yet that didn't love to walk! Sniffing every pole and bush, snapping alert to every bird and squirrel, checking the hydrant message board to see what their old buddy Bowser's been up to (and rolling in) lately. A walk around the block is a day at Disneyland for most dogs. Not to mention the value of exercise, or of wearing down their nails so they don't get overgrown. It seems cruel to deny it to them.
My wife Karen pointed out that every dog she's ever seen in a stroller looks happy enough. I guess. But your dogs aren't your children--they're a different species, with different needs. I find it both funny and pitiable, and suspect a person pushing a dog stroller is saying a lot more about their own needs than their dog's.
(If I've described any friends or readers of this blog, I'm sure you have excellent reasons and are the exception to the rule. Maybe you can explain it to me.)
Dog strollers: I just don't get it.


Sherwood Harrington said...

Our two male dogs would hate that -- on outings, they're always in motion, sniffing, marking, whatever. Little Emma, though, would far prefer a stroller, I'm sure, since she does a lot of whining and puffing and STOPPING RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.

Since she tends to fat, a stroller would be a disaster for her. So she's not getting one.

Besides, neither Diane nor I would be caught dead pushing one of those things if it contained a healthy dog.

Mike said...

As it happens, I just did a proposal for a story about "helicopter dog owners" -- in that case, about the people who come to the dog park but then scoop up little Bitsy the minute another dog wants to wrestle or objects to Bitsy's nose under his tail. Rather than let the dogs work things out, they assume it's all very scary and threatening and leave, while the rest of us shake our heads and feel sorry for poor little Bitsy.

They could leave in one of these nice strollers, but the parking lot isn't paved and I'm sure the ride would be too bumpy for little Bitsy's delicate tum-tum. Sigh.

ronnie said...

I'm with you, Brian. I think pushing little Bitsy in a stroller is denying her a whole lot of doggie-life and doggie-fun.

It seems the extreme end of what Desmond Morris called the "infantilizing" of our pets - the price they pay for being kept warm, dry and fed. They no longer get to live life as full mature members of their species - hunting, mating at will, doing as they please, etc. - and instead live in a sort of perpetual puppy- or kitten-hood. Not a bad price to pay for the benefits - but when we start treating them like human babies, I think it's gone too far, really.