More Clothes in Our House? No Thanks

My younger daughter, Divya, wants to buy a sweater for a member of our household. This household member does not usually wear clothes Melvin Durai's Humoraround the house and doesn’t seem the least bit embarrassed about it. She is the only female in our house who routinely gets away with lying on her back in the middle of the living room with her legs spread out.

Yes, I’m talking about our dog, Legacy. She is quite happy in her birthday suit and has never shown the slightest bit of interest in clothes. Even when my wife, Malathi, is standing in her closet in the morning, trying to decide what to wear to work, Legacy never shows a trace of envy, only a little impatience: “Hurry up and pick something quick. You haven’t served me breakfast yet.”

Despite this, Divya believes that Legacy needs a sweater or two. My daughter has seen other dogs wearing clothes, and has also seen dog dog clothessweaters and T-shirts in department stores. The dog clothing industry is quite large in North America. You can buy jackets, vests, hoodies, hats and shoes for your dog. You can even buy a suit and tie for your dog, just in case your pet has an interview, is attending an important conference, or has been selected to participate in the Republican presidential debate. (If you’ve been watching the debates, you know this isn’t too far-fetched. Your average dog would be far more logical about gun control than your average politician.)

Many people are eager to buy clothes for their pets, whether it’s a jacket for their dog, a sweater for their cat or just a pair of pajamas for their goldfish. In most cases, the “cute factor” plays a major role in the purchase. If your boxer looks cute in boxer shorts, then you’ve got to get him a pair, preferably in a bone pattern. (How come no one ever buys me underwear in a pizza pattern?)

Another reason pet owners buy clothes for their animals is to protect them from the elements. It can get quite cold in some parts of the world, and if you consider yourself a caring pet owner, you won’t take your dog for a walk without boots, snow pants, a sweater and a hat.

As tempting as it is to put Legacy in a sweater, I’m trying my best not to contribute to the pet clothing industry. I dread what might happen if the industry has a growth explosion. Not only will we have stores specializing in dog clothes, we might have stores specializing in dog accessories, such as belts, scarves and handbags.

I’d have to buy Legacy not just one sweater, but a complete set of clothes. Otherwise, the neighbors will gossip about us.

Wife: “That dog has been wearing the same sweater for three straight days. How awful!”

Husband: “Poor thing. I feel sorry for it. Other dogs must be looking down on it.”

Having to wash my kids’ clothes is burdensome enough, but just imagine if I had to wash Legacy’s filthy clothes too. At least I can tell the kids to put away their clothes after they’ve been washed. But Legacy – she’d just stare at me like I’m crazy. “What did he do to my clothes? They smelled really good before.”

Going on a family outing with Legacy would be such a challenge. We’d never leave home on time. As it is, our household has three females who take forever to find the right clothes to wear. Do I really need a fourth female saying to herself, “I have nothing good to wear”?

Once I’ve bought a complete set of clothes for Legacy, I’d have to find her some closet space, but not in my wife’s or daughters’ closets – that’s likely to set off World War III. I’d have to get rid of some of my clothes to make space for Legacy’s. That would get the neighbors talking again.

Wife: “Look at that dog. It’s so stylish these days – always wearing great clothes.”

Husband: “Yeah, but look at that man. He’s been wearing the same shirt for three straight days. How awful!”

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If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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