A Co Down company that specialises in fashion, accoutrements and accessories has just launched a new range of unisex fragrances. Nothing unusual there, you might think.
These organic scents are made from essential oils of assorted seasonal flora and include the aromatic and musky Wild Woodland, a spicy/sweet concoction called Sweet Jasmine and the light and refreshing floral Summer Garden scents. And very pleasant they are too.
But before you dash out to buy one of each for your in-laws Christmas stocking, I ought to point out the paw-print design on the elegant bottles and the company logo ... yes, these are perfumes for dogs!
The familiar earthy stench of ‘wet dog’ (who’s just rolled in fox faeces after dry-humping every passer-by) no longer cuts it for four-legged fashionistas about town.
Urban Pup is the company and, despite a worldwide (human) recession, things are going so well for them that they’re adding new luxury ranges every season. These include everything from coats, hats and scarves to special occasion-wear such as an all-in-one tuxedo and bow tie ensemble (for him) and a frilly and frothy formal gown (for her) to wear at pet weddings and formals.
You think I’m joking, don’t you? I’m not.
The only thing that you probably won’t be too shocked about, though, is that much of their business comes from America — the land of the brave, the free and the multi-million-dollar dog-party planners.
Having watched some of the reality TV antics of those Stateside celebs and their ... ahem ... spoilt bitches, I never cease to be amazed by how far they will go to prove everlasting love and loyalty to their pets and one-upmanship to their friends.
Rich residents of LA, for example, have recently taken to throwing lavish banquets for their dogs. Yes, it really is a social whirl for the pampered pooches of La-La Land who now, like their owners, need little excuse to celebrate.
Pamela Anderson and the pop princess Pink have for some time been at the forefront of the party planning circle. The Baywatch babe recently threw a dog wedding reception for her two puppies on Malibu beach. While 20 showbiz guests and their pets looked on, the loving couple exchanged vows before being showered with confetti and presented with expensive gifts.
At another party, thrown in honour of a dog’s ‘Bark-Mitzvah’, guests were greeted by the 13-year-old host dressed in a traditional prayer shawl, then treated to a kosher buffet whilst a klezma band (presumably all-human) entertained them with a medley of favourite Jewish dance tunes.
They’re barking mad, don’t you think? Now don’t get me wrong, I do love my dogs and like nothing better than seeing them run riot around the beach with a motley crew of local mutts.
But if you’re going to throw a bash that they really enjoy, wouldn’t it be a better idea to let them plan it themselves? Bearing that in mind, I asked my beloved bichon frisée Bailey to describe exactly how he would like to celebrate his upcoming eighth birthday. Here is his draft invitation:
Guests to arrive 8.30pm
8.30-9pm: Frantic, chaotic running around front garden; weeing on shrubs and bushes; frenetic digging of lawn for no apparent reason; barking uncontrollably at passers-by.
9-10pm: Organised games to include Sniff-My-Bum; Hump My Neighbour; Pass the Partially-Eaten Parcel; Bite the Tail on the Donkey; Dead Cats.
10-10.30pm: Cold bone buffet followed by random dustbin raid. Help yourself to drinks directly from toilet bowl. Dessert consisting of daffodil bulbs freshly dug from herbaceous border.
10.30-11.30pm: Terrorising next door’s cat; howling incessantly and inexplicably at moon; defecating on living room carpet; running around in circles, chasing own tails and going a bit crazy for no apparent reason.
Midnight: Neighbours call police; Carriages.