Suave, Four-Legged Children

I’m from a soflo city which, in recent years (about the last 20 or so) has become somewhat of a suave place to live.  Part of the suaveness includes numerous Starbucks (thank God) and a posh mall that, when I was a child, had a toy store and a Taco Viva (yes, for a seven-year old kid, it was thrilling). Now there is a plethora of stores I do not know the names of (excluding Juicy because that’s just sheer fun to pronounce). But I digress.

I am an allergy queen.  I will not bore you with the details but the only pets I am aware of that will not aggravate my asthma or allergies are reptiles (yep, turtles, snakes, lizards etc.). Fish are safe, too, but not an option.  Years of living with lone Betas that required their own little containers (because the pretty males would kill one another if put in the same tank), certain water, special fish food, who managed to persist way beyond the normal goldfish life span (one of them survived five years even after accidentally ending up in the disposal), no way, no how.  You get the drift.

Back to my original point.  People here like dogs.  A lot.  They love them actually.  Many people act like the dogs are their children.  Some of the dogs ARE children.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love dogs.  Have always loved dogs.  Will always love dogs.  I was fortunate enough to have two of the dear creatures growing up (they were a girl’s best friend).  But, they were DOGS.  They did not sit at the dinner table, have their own laptops, and sport designer clothing.  In my city, though, a phenomenon exists.  I’d call it a trend but it’s bigger than that.  More like a revolution.  A doggie revolution.  Not only do dogs have their own park, they now travel (many of them complete with doggie seat belts and sunglasses) to such places as the aforementioned posh mall.  And high-end restaurants.  And Whole Foods.  And Starbucks.  The owners of large dogs showcase their “children” by diamond studded leashes.  The “children” flaunt pink leather collars with engraved, sterling dog tags.

Look, a working dog helping someone to live a normal life (or as close to a normal life as possible), fabulous.  Police canines who fight crime, sniff out drugs, and help to protect my community, awesome.  Childhood pets like Buster, Max, and Molly, who are home chilling where they should be, wonderful.  I’m not referencing these fantastic animals.

I’m speaking about Fifi, Diego, and Persia whose doggie doo I step in when I come out of Starbucks.  Who I spot scouring The Mall perched in their comfy, cushiony STROLLERS!  Where else in the world, with the exception of Beverly Hills, can you walk through The Mall and see a pair of dachshunds side by side in their pink, double wide STROLLER?  I know, I know.  I grew up here.  I am a native and I swear it wasn’t like this twenty-five years ago.  I find myself irritated enough to consider showing up with an adopted “child” in a stroller, too.  Only my “child” would be roughly twelve feet long, have brown blotches up and down its back, and would curl up nicely in its STROLLER.  Of course, when it would get hungry, I’d be sure to drop into the nearest pet store to pick up a few rats or rabbits. At least my “child,” couldn’t send someone into anaphylactic shock.  A heart attack, maybe, but no Zyrtec necessary.  Please, people, leave your “children” home, safe and sound.  Those of us who are allergic, thank-you.