Bad ad: Puppies aren’t fashion accessories

December 20, 2010

Before seeing this ad online, I had never heard of Harvey Nichols (a British luxury goods retailer). Now I’m sorry I ever did.

While it was probably meant to be light-hearted and perhaps even funny, the reality is not so much. Styleite has a great rant on the topic, and nails the best argument against Christmas puppies obtained without enough thought and planning beforehand:

Pop quiz! What is the busiest month of the year for animal shelters? Take your time, there’s no pressure! OK, actually, there is: time’s up. The answer is March. Why? Because all the adorable widdle puppies purchased as gifts over the holidays are no longer adorable widdle puppies in March. By March, they are small dogs that are still learning how to behave and as such are probably peeing in the corner and chewing your new Jimmy Choos. And all of a sudden they’re not so cute anymore. Instead, they’re annoying and they require work and responsibility and far too much effort to actually keep. And off to the shelter they go. Bye bye puppy!

Thanks to Carol for the tip.

Retail warning for collars: A short Associated Press story in the San Francisco Examiner mentions that due to the carcinogenic effects of propoxur, California retail stores who sell flea and tick collars with the nasty stuff will include warning labels. I have a better idea: How about not selling cancer producing products?

Encouraging new vets: Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine (home of our very own Dr. Tony Johnson) has hit on a clever idea to build a new bumper crop of veterinarians in the next generation. They’ve produced a book for third graders called “How I Became a Scientist.” It’s part of the larger program, “Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses,” aimed at spotlighting the issues of obesity and asthma in animal populations. You can download a free copy of the activity book here.

Testifying: Last week’s profile of the UPaws success in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wasn’t the only mention of what’s been happening in Marquette.  Our friend Shirley at YesBiscuit has a superb and creative angle.  She solicited stories from the people who were part of the success. My favorite of the three letters was written by longtime volunteer and current UPaws treasurer Joan Mulder.

When I look back at how bad it was to where we are now I can’t believe all we’ve done. AND we’ve done this as an open admission shelter. All animals are welcome at our shelter and we’ve never turned one away – from mice, dogs, cats to snakes, chickens and horses. We’ve done this with a very old and small shelter, not much of a budget and a small handful or committed board members, volunteers and staff. I’m very proud of what we’ve ALL accomplished. This could never have happened without the support of our board, staff, volunteers and the community.

Whenever we hit a hard time we’ve always kept this first and foremost,
“It’s all about the animals” nothing else matters.

That’s just the tail end of her account. You really need to read the rest. Very powerful stuff. Thanks for sharing the stories with all of us, Shirley.

Cruelty through neglect: If the previous post isn’t the best writing of recent blog posts, this one is. Our BFF Dr. Patty Khuly tackles a deadly serious topic in her Fully Vetted blog –  animals who are severely neglected by their owners.

Editorial on SickVick: Jane Velez-Mitchell of CNN’s Headline News posted an editorial opinion on Michael Vick’s stated desire to get a dog:

Sorry, Michael Vick, there are limits to redemption. Redemption isn’t giving a bank robber a job as a teller. It isn’t letting a convicted child molester run a day care center. And it isn’t handing someone convicted of driving under the influence the keys to a car and a bottle of rum. Redemption is certainly not giving a man who participated in gruesome cruelty against animals the chance to bring home a four-legged companion.

Interesting that this appeared in CNN’s International edition but not the US site.

Be Prepared: The Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared,” and to that end the always funny site The Oatmeal dispenses valuable advice. Eight ways to prepare your pets for war. Tip of the cap to Susan Fox for this story and the previous one).

I always like to hear from readers, especially if you have tips, and links for interesting stories.  Give me a shout in the comments, or better yet, send me an e-mail.

Photo credit: screenshot, Harvey Nichols UK


  1. The ad is disgusting.

    But I’m not sure about this quote from the linked blog post:

    What is the busiest month of the year for animal shelters? Take your time, there’s no pressure! OK, actually, there is: time’s up. The answer is March. Why? Because all the adorable widdle puppies purchased as gifts over the holidays are no longer adorable widdle puppies in March.

    I’m all tingly getting to beat Heather to this, but:


    I’ve seen this same message re-phrased as being about Easter chicks and bunnies, about end-of-summer pet dumps, about end-of-school year pet dumps, etc. etc.

    Do we have a national statistic on pet surrenders? I don’t think we do. And if we do, wouldn’t March more likely be the start of kitten season than anything to do with Christmas?

    Comment by Christie Keith — December 20, 2010 @ 9:25 am

  2. speaking of bad, check out this book for children that recommends hugging and kissing dogs at any time (this kind of behavior is actually a primary CAUSE of dogs biting kids)

    Sophia Yin is extremely upset

    Comment by EmilyS — December 20, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

  3. I agree Christie, it doesn’t pass the sniff test.

    Because I would WISH that Christmas puppies got taken to the shelter in March, when they are still very malleable and perceived as easy to rehome, and often retain quite a bit of cute.

    Anecdotally (which is code for, no, of course I have no cite) most pups seem to go the the shelters when they are teenagers (8+ months) or young adults. Regardless of when they were acquired.

    And I’m guessing that people who end up giving up on these little purse-dogs probably hold onto them for longer than do people who back out on their big boisterous Labs. Just a guess. The age at which owners of little dogs ask for help training (if they ever do) vs. the owners of big dogs definitely shows a significant gap. People tolerate an untrained, unmannerly little dog for longer.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — December 20, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

  4. I agree! The attitude of the commercial is problematic. To encourage people to think of dogs as an accessory, as, essentially, disposable, is sad and wrong. It would be nice to think that people will watch it and just smile because they love animals, but there are too many dumb people out there who will watch it and think “i want one”, and that will be the extent of their thought process. It would be so easy for a high end retailer like HN to take the ‘high road’ and do a more creative ad incorporating a rag-tag bunch of shelter pets. It would also be much more in line with the spirit of the holiday season.

    Comment by Joani Schofield — December 21, 2010 @ 10:47 am

  5. Regarding the collars and the cancer causing carcinogen contained within – um… why are we surprised?

    We KNOW that the products contained in these collars are carcinogens. This is no surprise.

    A TRUE step forward would have been California standing up for itself and REQUIRING companies to, from here on out, list ALL “inert” ingredients, either directly on the box or with copies the retailers can hand out lists of these inert ingredients with a “black box” notice stating so on each and every product. Make it illegal and extremely expensive (via a ridiculous fine) to sell these products without these sheets listing inert ingredients. In other words, leave no loopholes.

    When THAT list comes out, you can remove your outrage from your purse. To find a carcinogen in an OTC (or even veterinary-only) flea product is like “Eureka!! There are pieces of ground wheat in white bread!”

    Sorry, I don’t mean for my sarcasm to be disrespectful – I agree with everything you said about them not being on the market in the first place… but the legislation that protects those “inert” ingredients and makes sure we will never know whether it’s water or arsenic in that tube with the imidacloprid is FAR more outlandish than providing a warning while allowing a product to stay on the shelves.

    Comment by Kim — December 21, 2010 @ 12:34 pm

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