I wrote in a fairly early post about how my husband objected to the bandannas Zoe's groomers gave her as a finishing touch. I always thought she looked pretty, but I knew what he meant. I think even in this picture, below, you can see that Zoe is a serious dog. She isn't goofy, and she doesn't preen. She's being anthropomorphized with this bow as some kind of girlie-girl. But the other underlying issue was that my husband was afraid I might not stop there. What if I started to pose with Zoe and her pink bow and turned these pictures into greeting cards? And then before you know it I'd be dressing her up as an elf at Christmas. From there we might work through other holidays. The Easter Dog/Bunny? The Halloween Dog Ghoul?
(See Day 24: Zoe and Cindy: Meditation on the Quilt, for the story of how Zoe got all her bandannas that my husband had removed back in the form of a quilt, thanks to one of her favorite people.)
One year for my birthday Rebecca gave me a nightshirt with down-dogs all over it (that is, dogs doing down-dog pose from yoga) which I wore until it had holes in it, and then I found the catalog she'd ordered it from and bought its replacement. My sister has given me countless pairs of dog socks as a joke, but then I wear them, usually when I'm walking Zoe or working out. I've given her puppy calendars, or cute baby animal calendars, and she sends me You-tube films of dogs doing cute stuff, including dancing with their human partners.
If we do all this with a sense of humor, to indicate we are laughing mostly at ourselves and how over-the-top we are, do we still have a critical perspective, or did we cross the line the minute we bought our first card of a poodle with a hula hoop and a party hat?
And what if the dog's person is helping her canine cutie battle a serious illness? Is it wrong to continue buying the same kinds of cards? Is it consoling to carry on in the same way? Or is it a sign that I'm in denial?
The story continues tomorrow.