Pampering our furry friends has become the norm. Five Star Hotels, Doggie Spas, and Organic Pet Restaurants are mainstream in most cities all over the world. Have you noticed the fashion statements parading down the streets and doggie parks in your neighborhood? The bling and chic outfits are simply amazing! Living in rainy British Columbia, there is nothing cuter than spotting one of my favorite breeds (Which one could that possibly be?) all decked out in raincoats with matching boots and hat. Spa treatments are exotic (and pricy), including massages, moisturizer creams, and even acupuncture. Pet owners pay monthly health insurance premiums to ensure that they can afford the vet bills incurred for these health and beauty procedures. Doggie Day Cares provide pet owners with phone-in up-date conversations detailing their puppy’s socialization, eating and toileting habits while in their care. And of course, one expects fresh organic lunches to be served at these pet care facilities. Some dogs no longer walk city streets but view the world proudly from a stroller seat. If dogs do exercise, booties to protect their pads from the hot pavement are a necessity. And of course a safety harness is worn in vehicles! Can you see how this pet-mania became the fodder for my novel Frenchie’s Best Friend-Follow the Blog?
And did you know that having a pet in Japan is so desirable that people are willing to rent a pet? (ABC News/Nightline, Tokyo, March 20, 2007) That’s right, if they cannot have a pet of their own, they go to agencies that will rent them a dog for a couple of hours. They are issued a leash, tissues and a plastic bag (you know what that’s for…) and rent their pet by the hour. They can walk the dog, take it to a park bench to pet and stroke it and probably even take a few photos of themselves and their rented pet.
Recently, as the author of Frenchie’s Best Friend- Follow the Blog, I set up a table at an evening Summer Market on Vancouver Island. It coincidentally coincided with a visit from my son and his partner who just happen to own the most adorable French Bulldog – Bert. Of course it made sense that Bert should accompany me to the market. (After all, his picture is on the cover of my book and plastered all over my website!) I assumed that people would gravitate to my table initially because of the colorful and inviting display of my books. And then they would notice Bert at my feet for a bonus pat for my adorable grand-dog. Oh no! This didn’t happen! No one seemed to even notice the hilarious and entertaining novel being promoted. Instead, they went directly to Bert (like he was magnetic) and spent their entire focus on him. Seriously, I’m pretty sure they didn’t even connect the dots that there were books being sold at my kiosk!