I just received an email from Sam's Club, of which I am not a member.
Sam's Club challenges, "Animal Lover? Time to Prove it!"
The link leads you to the Pet Center and a graphic that says "Feel the Puppy Love? In the Spirit of Valentine's Day Show them How Much You Care." An image of a heart shaped doggy bowl filled with treats is featured.
If you click on this it takes you to an article about general animal care, but let's dissect the headlines for a moment, shall we?
I have pets and I consider myself an animal lover. We are at an all time low of three cats and two fish right now, but the fauna tally here typically registers higher than that between our own pets, strays we are feeding, fosters we are harboring....you get the picture. I have never once felt the need to prove that I cared about my animals as suggested by Sam's Club. And I particularly have not felt the need to prove that I care for them buy buying them things, which of course is the implication of the email. As a marketing tool, the goal is to convince the customer to purchase their products, of course, but "Animal Lover? Time to Prove it!" does not accomplish that goal. If anything, I find it to be rather repellent.
Blush Pearl Necklace CHIEN COATURE pearl necklaces are made of natural and dyed freshwater pearls and CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements. The necklaces are wired with flexible jewelry wire and should not break under normal wear. The clasps are lobster claw in sterling silver. Each necklace is custom-made to fit your dog.In the Spirit of Valentine's Day Show them How Much You Care. Really? Do dogs and cats feel left out on Valentine's Day? No kidding? This is what I'm thinking. I'm thinking that animals don't give a flying frick about holidays and as long as they are fed, watered, sheltered, and given some cuddles, they will be eternally grateful. I'm thinking that the mere idea that animals care about holidays and not only care, but actually require commercially purchased offerings is a symptom of how disturbingly material we have really become as a culture.
I confess, before children I used to put catnip and kitty treats in a stocking for the cats at Christmas. They didn't much appreciate it, but I did do it for a couple of years. I think we can all agree that it wasn't for the cats. Well, it was for the cats, technically - I don't eat cat treats, but the stocking wasn't for the cats, of course, and as it turns out, they don't really appreciate wrapping paper either as it only hinders their ability to gnaw through the foil treat package. I have since stopped this ridiculous charade, though the cats still get plenty of treats.
Twinkle Collar Red-Multi Colored CrossWhat I really don't understand is buying things "for your dog" that dogs don't really appreciate. Like jewelry, for instance. I don't care how adorable your doggy is - the dirty truth is that he would opt for a tasty cat turd over a crystal-laden collar or beaded necklace any day. Now I don't begrudge the purchases either, but recognize that if you want to buy baubles for your dog, you are not doing it even one iota for the dog - it's all for you, baby.
This fashionable collar can be worn as an exquisite necklace or high fashion collar.
That animal neither wants nor needs such frivolities - he needs attention and nourishment, but he does not need doggy spangles. There's a lot that animals don't need. They certainly don't need us to prove that we love them on any commercial level.
The Tropical Garden Collar is truly art to wear for your dog! The collar is made of white Italian lambskin and faced with rich white velvet. The collar is faced with hand woven, 3-D floral jewelry made of Czech pressed glass pieces and CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements. This collar is meant for dress-up and party wear – treat this as jewelry for your dog.
So buying sparkly pet junk is fun and harmless, unless of course it helps drive you into the mire of debt that plagues most households. But here's an idea and one that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside: as fun as frivolous pet products are, there are animals out there that do need and they need more than just love, commercially purchased or homemade. They need help. This Valentine's Day consider giving to your local pet shelter, either financially, of your time, or by helping fill their wish list.
Shelters typically accept the following items, but call to determine the need of your local shelter:
~ Pet food, preferably premium brands (Nutro, Science Diet, Wysong, Eukanuba, ProPlan, Purina One, Special Diets)
~ Ceramic or Metal Food Bowls
~ Small Litter Boxes for cages
~ Large Litter Pans
~ Cat Litter
~ Used Towels for Cages
~ Scratching Posts
~ Cat Trees
~ Cat Nip
~ Cat Toys
~ Postage Stamps
~ Computer Paper
~ Printer Cartridges (call for needs)
~ Paper Towels
~ Rubber gloves
~ Spray Bottles
~ Fuzzy commode seat covers for cage beds
~ Trash Bags
~ Digital Camera and volunteers to nicely capture and edit photos for the website
~ Gift Cards for Petsmart or PetCo, Office Depot, Office Max, Target, Home Depot or Lowes
~ Dog chew toys
~ Dog leashes
~ Dog treats
~ Volunteer dog walkers
~ Round fleece cat beds
~ Cat Collars (quick release)
~ Dog collars-all sizes
~ Gift certificates for grooming
~ Chew Bones
~ Powdered kitten/puppy replacement milk
~ Large jars of peanut butter for dog treat toys
~ Animal shampoo
~ Animal carriers
Even if you are on a budget, this is a great way to dispose of your old towels and pillowcases and that hideous toilet cover set from your first apartment or that perfectly functional digicam that has been gathering dust since you upgraded.
And if you have kids, big or little, this is a fabulous opportunity to demonstrate what loving animals is really all about.