Dressing up your dog: harmless fun or unfair treatment of a pet? John, alongside Tommy, is the owner of fashionable pug, Mamma Biscuit, and runs the popular blog, Desperately Seeking Mamma Biscuit, which documents all the outfits that Mamma Biscuit wears during her adventures in New York.
We can’t think of anyone more suited to discussing dressing up your dog, which is why we asked John to tell us his views on accusations that dressing up a pooch is a form of animal cruelty…
Since launching Mammabiscuit.com, our fashionable rescue pug has amassed a huge following of supporters and fans that tune in weekly to read about her adventures here in NYC and to see what she will be wearing next. Those who find joy and humour in all of Mamma’s canine fashionable moments are plenty. However, there are a select few who think that what I do with Mamma Biscuit involves animal cruelty. Before I delve into this debate, I would like to clarify what “true” animal cruelty is to me.
According to The Humane Society, about 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs—about one every 11 seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year. Many people who are looking to acquire a pet in this country participate in animal cruelty every single day, simply by purchasing pets from pet stores or from private breeders instead of rescuing an animal. Mamma Biscuit is a puppy mill rescue. She was forced to produce litter after litter of puppy pugs for the first eight years of her life before she was rescued and rehabilitated – all to meet the demands of pet store shoppers. The miserable life Mamma was forced to endure in solitude, crated under fluorescent lights, with no health or dental benefits is, in my opinion, the pure definition of animal cruelty. Private breeders are also part of this problem as they not only add more animals into a world where so many get put down, but also breed “ideals” of these animals that make those looking to be adopted seem “damaged” and undesirable.
Knowing this, I do not believe that putting my dog in a cable knit sweater or a houndstooth coat paired with a vintage brooch to be cruel in any sense of the word. I dress Mamma Biscuit up because I find it fun and cute and it’s a great way to show the world just how fabulous an elderly rescue pet can be. Who doesn’t want to see a pug wearing a dress? Mamma’s wardrobe possibilities have no limits because she’s so incredibly comfortable wearing clothes. If she felt uncomfortable in any way, I would not continue to dress her up. She feels no physical pain from wearing clothes nor does she exhibit any emotional distress–unless of course, she’s wearing last season’s wardrobe, then she can be a diva! Dressing Mamma Biscuit up and sharing her life online has not only brought joy to us and her audience but it has also drawn attention to her miserable past, the industry of pet production and has inspired many of our readers to adopt their very own pet!
I do draw the line with dying your pet’s hair different colours. Without any concrete reason, I just can’t get on board with chemically altering a pets coat of hair for aesthetic reasons. Aside from that, jewellery, coats, sweaters, dresses and any other canine clothing items is all perfectly fine in my opinion, as long as your pet isn’t physically uncomfortable. Dressing up your pet is a great way to showcase your personality and the personality of your four-legged companion!
Animal cruelty extends beyond the borders of domestic pets but unfortunately, the moral care and consideration we give to our domesticated companion animals doesn’t apply to factory farmed animals raised for food. The systematic confinement and torture of 9 billion chickens, pigs, cows, turkeys and lambs should put any debate about dressing up our pets as a form of animal cruelty in perspective!