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Some thoughts on commodification

I recently met a man with a beautiful dog - a big, fluffy bear of a boy. Of course, being me, I stopped to say hello to this sweet and friendly bundle, and got chatting.

Unprompted, and without even telling me his dog’s name, the man said “he’s a Newfiepoo - he doesn’t shed” and looked very pleased with himself. This puzzled me. Here he was with a gorgeous dog with a lovely character, and this was his bragging point. Nothing about his dog’s lovely personality or handsome looks - just the fact that he doesn’t need to get the hoover out as often as other dog owners. Weird.

This obsession with the ‘practicality’ or ‘functionality’ of certain dog breeds is sad, and actually quite disturbing to me. Many people go searching for dogs that don’t shed, don’t bark, don’t need much exercise or even much attention. Of course these promises made by breeders aren’t always foolproof, and people who purchase a dog with the understanding “they don’t bark” might be disappointed when their dog shows completely normal and natural canine behaviours once they’re home.

Dogs aren’t products, they’re living creatures with their own personalities and their own wants and needs. When we start to think about dogs as predictable items we can pick from a shelf, we create so many problems. People who see themselves as customers may feel they’ve been misled, and might want a refund or simply to give the dog to someone else. Or, they might buy more products to “fix” the faulty item they’ve purchased - a bark collar, a choke chain or a citronella spray. The product-consumer mindset is such a harmful one.

Dogs are not “things.” Spread the word 🐾

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