A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

When Labs Are Tigers and Chows Are Pandas

dog-as-tiger-2-071112It started in China, but is spreading to the West: dyeing your dog to look like another animal. From tigers to turtles, it’s pets as fashion statements.

Shelters used to have people dropping off their pets because “she doesn’t match the new furniture.” Now we’ll probably have them dropping them off because “the kids want one that will come out like a giraffe.”

“I wanted my beagle painted like a zebra before he got married,” Sarah Segal tells Anderson Cooper.

“I don’t even know where to begin with that sentence,” the TV host replies.

Segal now has a business selling dyes to other people who want their pets dyed. (I’m trying not to say “dead”.)

Veterinarian Marty Becker, author of “Your Dog: The Owner’s Manual,” said that philosophically he has no problem with it – except that you should always use food dyes, not human dyes. And he adds that you should never dye your cats.

I, for one, do have a problem with people dyeing their dogs – just as I have a problem with people dressing them up. It’s all part of making them more into “pets”, so that they’re more divorced from their real nature as dogs. (OK, an occasional funny hat or whatever. But dogs in baby dresses sitting in strollers – oh, please.)

Sure, as one of the people on the Anderson show says, the dogs may enjoy it, but what they’re enjoying is all the extra attention. And there are other ways to give a dog your attention.

The whole sorry business has now infiltrated the dog spa business. And Segal says that at her spa they only use food coloring that’s been approved by the ASPCA. Maybe, but I can’t imagine the “A” approves of dyeing your dog. I sure hope it doesn’t.

Dogs are dogs. Let them be dogs. Enjoy them for who they are; if you want a painting of a tiger, get a coloring-by-numbers set.