The Right to Choose
What’s wrong with this picture? Four TV’s, four fans, four teams, one Sunday, lots of smiles – right? (Oh and the photographer is a Seahawks fan, so that makes five fans – under one roof rooting for five teams.)
There’s nothing wrong with this picture. That’s my dog, Shaggy. One pre-season weekend ago, my Buffalo-Bills-for-life-boyfriend and I took Shaggy to the pet store, and let him pick out his own jersey. It was time to let him make a choice.
For ten years, Shaggy has sported custom collars, giveaway bandannas and fancy, fit-for-breed sweaters- for all my teams, season to season. He isn’t bothered by the apparel, in fact, he loves the attention. I don’t think it’s sad or obnoxious that people dress up their pets. But maybe it’s a little obnoxious to assume that pets feel good in what they’re wearing. Especially at a certain age and maturity.
I’m not exactly proud of walking the dog on Sunday mornings. “No I’m not a Raiders fan, but he is,” I’d at first find myself explaining to people, trailing off helplessly. Now I’m OK with it. And I leave it at that. I think it’s the same as when someone says, “Oh what a cute dog,” and the dog owner says, “Thanks.” Why do we take credit for the admiration of our animals? We didn’t make them cute. Not really. So it’s the same – that I swallow my pride when the opposite occurs, “Why doesn’t he wear your team colors?” I don’t know! I can’t explain why he sniffed that jersey among all jerseys on display at the pet store.