Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

February 3, 2013

02/03/2013 — Lee Ward: She’s no style maven, but dog wears jacket

ASHLAND — Contrary to popular belief, I am not one to put clothing on dogs.

Of course, the late Hilda is famous for her portrait with a straw hat and she did wear a grass skirt, bikini top and sunglasses to a beach party fundraiser. She and her sister both had lovely sweaters to wear outside in winter, but this was not the norm at our house.

It’s still not the norm.

Being a guy, Manny has no interest in such frivolous stuff as clothes and accessories.

While Marcie is a sweet little girl, she’s also a dog’s dog: she likes to wallow in dirt and bury things. Clothing and manicures are not conducive to such behavior.

I like to let the dogs be themselves and if they aren’t into fashion, that’s OK.

However, Marcie is now wearing clothes.

She recently had surgery for a bad knee. I was not prepared for the amount of shaving that took place before the procedure. About a fourth of her body has been hair free at a time when a creature needs all the hair she can get: During the coldest months of the year, Marcie not only is being required to use the little girl’s room outdoors with a quarter of her hair missing, she’s being required to take several short walks a day as physical therapy.

Marcie loves a good walk and having had surgery was no deterrent. She has loved getting out in the neighborhood and sniffing things she usually doesn’t have the opportunity to sniff, even with a large portion of her skin exposed to subfreezing temperatures.

But I’ve been bothered by all that bare skin outdoors during the winter. Like a mother who bundles up her child to near immobility, I was compelled to clothe the dog. I didn’t care if I found something fancy for her to wear; I just wanted something warm to cover my partially bald puppy.

If you’ve ever shopped for canine clothing you know it’s not made for bigger dogs. Hilda weighed about 65 pounds, so when I put clothes on her, I shopped the little girl’s department. Marcie, who isn’t as large as Hilda, is still out of the size range of the typical dressed dog, plus she’s a little chubby.

After visiting several discount stores to no avail, I gave in and went to an upscale doggie boutique. I explained to the clerk I just wanted something simple — and cheap. I didn’t want an ensemble, just something to protect my girl from the cold.

First, she showed me some pajamas. They were adorable, I have to admit, but it’s just not right to go outside in pajamas.

There was a jacket with an autumn theme. Cute, but the colors weren’t all that flattering to a black and white dog. Plus, it’s not autumn.

Then, the clerk remembered something that might work: a pink and white checked jacket with bunches of cherries scattered all over it. Also adorable, but even better, simpler to put on and take off. Even more better: on sale.

So now Marcie and I walk the neighborhood, both wearing jackets and both staying toasty. I don’t care if the neighbors think I’m a nut who dresses her dog. I know Marcie’s wearing a jacket because she needs it to stay warm, even if it’s really cute, too.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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