Pampering the Pooches

Carter, in a royal blue rugby shirt and tie, was ready for his first birthday party. A 6-foot poster bearing his likeness marked the gathering spot at Allyne Park in San Francisco, where 60 of his closest friends dipped their toes in an inflatable pool and noshed on beach-themed cupcakes designed by a food stylist.

Yes, it was a bit over the top for a Yorkshire terrier, but his parents were so proud.

Nobody beats San Francisco when it comes to doting on dogs. It's a city with luxury dog hotels, rooftop dog cocktail parties, a pet cemetery and City Hall plans to turn dog droppings into alternative energy. And the urban legend is actually true: Dogs outnumber children in the City by the Bay. MORE

It is not especially surprising that San Francisco contains more dogs than children. Many inhabitants of that city have through a variety of methods prevented normal human reproduction from taking place. Yet apparently the parental instinct is not so easily suppressed and emerges in canine form.

I have nothing against dogs, though I personally find cats more interesting. In my household we have three of each species. Yet the kind of doting described in the article disturbs me. Read on:

Capitalizing on the dog worship is Ritu Raj, who just opened one of his posh pet resorts, Wag Hotel, in San Francisco. Vacationing owners can leave their beloved dogs and cats in suites with faux leather beds, flat-screen TVs and Webcams, knowing their animals will get daily play dates, organic meals and, for an extra fee, swim time in the pool, pedicures and blueberry facials.

I wonder if the folks who spend this kind of money on their animals realize that there are humans right in their own city who don't have any bed, much less a faux leather one. Saint Francis himself was an animal lover, but somehow I think he would be mightily displeased to see pets so pampered while people are so neglected in the city that bears his name.

Related article: Rise of the DINKs

Hat tip: Mark Shea

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