8 July 2022

What to do when your own dogs dress you down

| Sally Hopman
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Dog in jumper

Whatever have you made me wear, asks Mickey? Just as well I can’t see it. Photo: Sally Hopman.

As someone who struggles to dress herself properly, putting clothes on my dogs was never going to happen.

Particularly if there was anything fluffy, glittery or embroidered involved, particularly with words like “hot” or “dog”.

How could I, a certified dag, inflict my lack of dress sense on a dog. Yes, I’ve gone out in public with odd shoes on, frocks inside out and shirts back to front. Sadly they are not urban/rural myths because there are apparently pictures. Lots of pictures.

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So here’s the dilemma. His name is Mickey and he is 300 years old. He has sort-of sight in one eye, his hearing only works when a fridge is opened and he has a shiny yet far from heavy coat.

Mickey has taken to shivering at me when I remove him from under the sheet, which is under the doona, which is under another doona to his basket in front of the fire and read him his favourite Lassie story before I go to work while Classic FM or Triple J, depending on his mood, hums/thumps in the background. If pathetic were an Olympic sport, he’d woof it in.

Dog in big coat

When size does matter. Are you serious? You want me to wear this? Put your glasses on, human. Just as well Charlotte couldn’t talk. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Over the years, rescue dogs who have adopted me have come with clothes. A red satin jacket once, which went straight to the RSPCA, along with aforementioned embroidered little numbers.

So when Mickey started banging/barking on about the cold, I started hunting about for something his size. That is, really small. I found what looked like the arm of a large green jumper with two holes cut into it and slipped it over his head. He shook his head, the rest of his body, gazed longingly at his bed, glared at me, farted and fell asleep.

Think that was a win, or maybe just surrender – it could have been worse. He’d heard about said red satin coat.

Please don’t tell anyone, but I do have a bit of form when it comes to dogs and the wrong clothes.

Her name was Charlotte and she was a beauty. A pretty cocker spaniel who always looked good, except when she started wearing that pathetic look one cruel Bungendore winter. So when I was down at the rural supplies shop in the village and Charlotte was in the car shivering, I thought maybe I should get her a coat. Not that she did anything but eat, lie by the fire, eat some more and go outside briefly only to find dead bits of ancient farm animals to bring inside for me as a token of her, er, esteem.

In the rural supplies shop, I discovered a dusty rack of dog Driza-bones or their knock-off cheaper cousins. Perfect, I thought, Driza-BONES.

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They looked like they had been sitting in the shop since the Flintstones last visited, stored with all the stuff locals would never dream of buying but city visitors braving the country for a day trip jumped on. There was a blue one which I thought would match her eyes, so I bought it. I won’t tell you it cost more than a furnished kennel – yes they sold them too.

I took it home and dragged Charlotte from the warm comfortable place she had hidden from me in – she had seen the coat in the car – and tried it on. (Charlotte, not me – although it probably would have fitted me, at a stretch). OK, not so much a perfect fit, actually it didn’t fit her in the slightest. Who knew dog coats came with a train. No one, I’m guessing, particularly the manufacturer.

She wore the coat, mostly because it had made her paws and the rest of her immobile so she couldn’t wriggle out of it. But one look at her face, and I knew I had to stop – dressing dogs, that is.

I took it off her, gave her most of a leg of lamb, and she took her to bed. Dog-gone humans.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on Riotact.

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Poor, poor Charlotte. I think that coat would fit my standard poodle! Thank goodness cockers are forgiving dogs. As for Mickey….he will never admit it but I swear he thought it was about time.

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