There is an old expression referring to “live the life of the dog.”
Dating back to the 16th century, it refers to living a miserable and unhappy life, according to Urbandictionary.com.
Although the expression might have been true a long time ago, things had clearly changed. These days, most dogs live a charming life that most of us love!
When I grew up in the early ’80s, we had a little white dog named Buttons.
Despite what my kids think, this was after the 16th century. By then, things were better for dogs, but nothing compared to what is happening today!
We loved the buttons and treated them well. She lived a beautiful life and rarely complained. But then again, she had no idea how things would improve over the next 30 years.
The buttons do not contain any clothes. No sweaters, no socks, no rain jacket to keep her dry. The only accessory she had was a white plastic flea collar she had worn over the summer.
These days there are jackets, quilted jackets, and fan wear for your favorite dog team.
Buttons ate Dog Chow that we bought at the grocery store. There were two options: Dog Chow and Puppy Chow.
These days, there are hundreds of brands and lines of dog food made with fish, chicken, beef, tofu, you name it! There are different types for sensitive stomachs, itchy skin, large dogs, overweight dogs, large dogs, and small dogs.
You’ll find these endless selections in the grocery store, but also in the huge stores dedicated to dogs and cats. There, you’ll find rewards for picky eaters, toys for hyperactive pets, bones for aggressive chewers, and beds for dogs with bad backs. You’ll find specialty ointments, shampoos, conditioners, and even meat-flavored toothpaste.
Nor did we ever worry about cufflinks getting bored or needing to improve their social skills. When no one was home, she was left alone. We have never rented a dog sitter or a dog walker.
When we got out of town, I stayed at the vet’s office. There were no doggie day care, dog camps, or pet hotels.
There was certainly no kindergarten, dog school, or K-9 academy. The buttons don’t have a diploma, but that was fine.
We’re used to cleaning the buttons every now and then, usually around Christmas time, as well as any time you’re rolling in goose poop or a piece of burr.
These days, there are salons and even spas for dogs. Dog washing and grooming brand has been changed. Now you can add special shampoo or blowout. What about trimming the nails and razor? I’m sure you can order the color for an extra fee.
How about a massage for your stressed or tired dog or maybe a facial for those under-eye bags?
Speaking of dogs and work, there is another expression that refers to “working like a dog.” This means that you have been working hard and for a long time. Sure, some dogs work really hard. We love therapy dogs, guide dogs, service dogs, and police and military dogs.
However, my dogs are happily unemployed. They devour all the food and crumbs that we throw on the floor. Who needs Roomba?
But they also gather under my feet when I prepare any kind of food. I accidentally kicked them and tripped and stomped on them, but they still darkened my every move waiting for anything to fall.
Other than that, our dogs sleep a lot on the couch or in the sun all day long. When we’re outside, they occasionally chase a squirrel or dig a hole, but usually through the flowers.
In terms of a good work-life balance, my dogs recognized this.
Over the years, things have definitely improved for dogs. The old saying “it’s a dog’s life” doesn’t apply, unless you’re suggesting someone lives like royalty.
Speaking of the royal family, the Queen of England recently launched her own line of dog accessories that includes patterned leather collars and leashes, bejeweled food bowls, and patterned hunting jackets. Now every dog can live and look like mine. Come to think of it, I think they already did.
Andra Gillum, 52, lives in Upper Arlington.