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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"humanizing the dog"

That is the title of the short magazine piece below. I'm assuming it was meant to make readers chuckle, and that's the primary reason I'm sharing it with you. However, while you're at it - can you guess around when it was written? After all, it has a startlingly modern idea of what we're trying to give our doggy buddies. I know I couldn't have guessed. The answer's at the bottom.

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If humanity is deteriorating-—degenerating, as a certain school of writers would have us believe—it is comforting to reflect that the canine race is being rapidly educated up to such a height that mankind will soon necessarily step aside to make place for the genus cants. We have seen the dog blanketed and bedecked in silk and silver plate, his neck resplendent with gold filigree and gems, and now the dog bracelet has been added to the other agencies for humanizing man's four footed friend. These bracelets are worn on one, two, or three of the dear creature's ankles, according to the whim of its mistress. They are frequently of the most costly design, even sparkling with small diamonds.

We shall have shoemakers and tailors next, whose sole duty it will be to cater to the wants of our friend and contemporary the dog. Already the trunk makers, appreciating the importance of his dogship's good will, have produced elaborate designs of dog trunks and dog satchels. These satchels are works of art. They are made of the finest leather, with silver mountings, and any dog with an artistic eye would be glad to possess one. If your pet happens to have outgrown satchels, you may present him with a trunk. This is like an ordinary human being's trunk, except that there are breathing holes through it, for of course your pet travels inside. He may be incased in a sole leather trunk, a wicker trunk, or a plain wooden one, according to his taste, and the condition of his finances.

The adornment of the dog and his happiness and convenience at home and abroad having been attended to, we must provide for his social advancement. We must make him feel at home in the drawing room; we must not only entertain him, but we must make him entertain us, so that his perfect social equality with us may be promoted. To this end we should discourage purely canine sports, and invite our four legged friends to participate in manly pastimes. A good precedent in this line was happily established in one of our larger cities recently, by bringing to bear the peculiarly humanizing influence of that great modern institution, the prize fight. Other educational methods having been exhausted upon the pet dogs present, two of these were induced to fight each other for the edification of the assemblage, after the example so ably set for dogs in general at Carson City not long ago.

In these and many other ways much is being done by our thoughtful generation toward humanizing the dog. Mothers of mediocre intelligence devote themselves to the care of their children, but women of surpassing mentality leave such trivial domestic annoyances in the hands of servants, and devote themselves with commendable forethought to the education and ennobling of our Friend and Successor, the Dog.

From Munsey's Magazine, 1897 vol. 17 pp. 471-72


DamnCuteBunny said...

Love the last sentence!

parlance said...

A successfully ironic tone!