Clothes Hound

How far is too far when dressing up your dog?

By Leslie Phelan


I meet a lot of people while out with the fur balls. I meet couples and singles and dog-walkers and dog-sitters and pet jockeys of all kinds. But of all the doggy people I’ve met in the park since pledging allegiance to the gods of #puglyfe, there is one woman in particular who stands out in my memory. (Aside from Dominika, the fearless visionary behind the magazine you’re currently reading. I remember her the most!)

I met this other, equally memorable, park person while living in Vancouver from around the 2010 Olympics to just after the Van City riots. Those were exciting times on the West Coast; I tasted tear-gas that year! And I met this one chick from the park. She was gorgeous. Lean, leggy, perky – and an absolute dead-ringer for this Asian porn star I’d seen in a vid once. I swore it was her – she said her name was Marcie enough times, but I still wanted to call her Miko. Miko Sinz. It was uncanny!


Anyway, my park friend Miko, er, Marcie appeared to be single and dying to mingle. She always came to the park done up and dressed to impress, like she belonged with a luxury coach full of coquettish Japanese tourists rollin’ up curbside in front of Louis Vuitton. You’d think this woman’s style might have alienated someone like me, who more often went to the park with messy hair and in sweaty yoga clothes, but I like fancy people—I’m drawn to them like I am to shiny things. And she was really very shiny.

We didn’t converse all that often but whenever we did, she would always gripe in very broken English that there were no men in Vancouver. I couldn’t disagree with that, but to me, there was one huge, weird and hard-to-get-used-to thing about her lifestyle that I thought might really be the spike driving men in the dog park away. True, maybe her uber-posh ensembles were a little intimidating, but I think the problem was much more about the clothing she chose to put on her two maltipoos, Biko and Graydon. (I gotta say, Graydon is a weird name for a maltipoo, but to each her own inexplicable pet moniker).


Now, I love clothes on dogs as well as the next clucky canine-lover with a single person’s disposable income. I love t-shirts, sweatshirts, pea coats, hoodies and rain jackets; I even like dresses and tutus and harnesses that double as tutus—I’m on board! But what I cannot get down with is putting pants on dogs—that’s definitely where I draw an indelible, unmovable line.

Marcie loved putting pants on her dogs, and had all sorts of outfits for them, like sporty sweat pant sets or sensible Amish tweed pants that had patches at the knees. One time she brought them out in matching overalls. Overalls! With shirts that tucked into them. So bizarre.

I personally find the sight of pants on doggy legs to be odd and off-putting. When dog pants are sewn, they need to leave a gap under the tail so that the dog can pee and poop. That leaves an exposed butt, while the rest of the dog’s less stinky and inoffensive parts are fully clothed. It’s like ass-less chaps for pets. Why? Whatever the answer Marcie might have had in that strange, fancy brain of hers, all I can say is…weird. You and your dog pants will live on in my memory forever, Miko. I mean, Marcie.