pets, cross culturally

I’m as guilty as anyone as spoiling a pet.

Meet Abbey. From the first day we had her (yep, this was it), she set the rules.

The evidence? Well, first of all, there’s that rule thing. Every one we initially established (no bed, no couch, no human food) was quickly abandoned. Also, I talk to her. When she’s not around, I talk about her. Probably 90% of the pictures I take are of her. And my social life pretty much revolves around her too: Beagle meet-ups, swimming expeditions, etc.

I haven’t resorted to clothing her yet, but who knows, that may be coming. Although Andy and I initially chuckled at these life-jacket wearing doggers, I soon got to thinking, “If she’s ever comes swimming with us in Benin, maybe that’s not such a bad idea…”

I kind of understand dogs wearing life jackets when they're actually swimming. Kind of. But these dogs were going on a boat with tall walls separating them from water of any kind.

And speaking of dogs going on boats…

We take them (even the huge ones) on cruises.
This Saint Bernard enjoyed a cruise with other canine friends.
And this dog got dressed up for a Halloween parade.

So, yes, many of us spoil our furry friends, but I wonder: how much is this an American phenomena?

When researching potential posts, I remember reading with shock that dogs are so despised in certain parts of the world that you can’t walk them in public without being showered with sticks and rocks. (I think it was Malaysia, but my memory could be failing me.)

I’d love to hear about your experiences with pets overseas — both local views about pet ownership and treatment of the pets we bring.

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5 Responses to pets, cross culturally

  1. Nyssa says:

    Well, in Japan they’re a fan of pets, but it’s not the same. Pets are kind of like little fashion accessories, and there’s not any real animal welfare movement to speak of. It’s weird, there are houses built with runs for cats, and boutiques with dog outfits, but everyone buys from the pet store and there are no animal shelters, just pounds that euthanize without trying to adopt out. Maybe the pet owner culture hasn’t spread enough yet, those who own pets are super conscientious, but those who don’t are…not. Lucky for me, pet friendly housing is becoming more common. But never go to a Japanese zoo unless you want to break your heart.

    Also, Korean people are terrified of cats. Is there a rabies problem in Korea? I have no idea, but I do know I had to “save” my Korean classmates from an adorable extra sweet nursing Momma-cat who just wanted some of our BBQ. They way they reacted you’d have thought I beat back a pack of wolves instead of giving kitty a handful of shrimp in a far off corner of the park.

  2. Alex says:

    Funnily enough, another example of spoiling our pets just appeared in my inbox. Apparently the Park Hyatt is having a dog-friendly happy hour tomorrow. Info, in case any of you DC-based folks would like to go:;jsessionid=5CKKEDTLBYUZCCTEAGCCFFAKMQAYKIV0?newsId=22350691

  3. Jeanne says:

    And you write about her…..fairly regularly.

  4. Cris says:

    Love your site! Am waiting for my clearances to go through, so I just read and envy.
    I second what Nyssa says about Japan. People dress their dogs and also push them around in strollers or carry them with them everywhere in a carrier. I’m sure they are damaging the dogs’ health by not letting them, you know, walk…
    Watching TV here, yu will regularly see animal abuse as entertainment. And zoos, as Nyssa said, are beyond abysmal. Your dog would be happy here, but you may not like the general condition of animal rights.

  5. Amanda says:

    Definitely not American– I’ve had at least two visa applicants here in Ecuador who owned dog costume shops…no joke!

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