What wasn’t to love? Candy, a teeny tiny Chihuahua bundle of fur and preciousness, was found injured on an East Palo Alto street and, after a bit of tender care, was made available for adoption, the Peninsula Humane Society announced last week.
News traveled fast and before one could yell “stop the presses,” Candy was spoken for. It’s no surprise. Candy was adorable. Candy’s tale pulled at the heart strings. Candy was ... pink?
Seems on top of the 2-month-old girl’s other challenges, she also had to overcome an unfortunate bubble gum pink dye job courtesy, one would guess, of her original owner. The beauty school addition to Candy’s natural cuteness implies someone once cared for her, although frankly it is odd nobody ever reported her missing or contacted PHS for a reunion after the avalanche of news stories about the so-called mystery puppy.
Then again, the fact Candy is pink — if not forever than certainly for the foreseeable future as the dye fades and fur sheds — makes me think perhaps she is better off in the hands of somebody who realizes dogs are not meant to be color coordinated with pedicures, handbags and mood. Dogs are not meant to be airbrushed into resembling lions and tigers and bears, oh my. The point is to be tickled pink over a dog. Don’t let the dog actually be pink.
Yet there are plenty of people who would put me in the proverbial dog house for saying so. Salons cater to specialized pet ‘dos involving color and cuts akin to Vanilla Ice’s shaved eyebrow heyday. Online sites sell fur-specific dye kits. Love may be color-blind but puppy love seems to be a whole different animal.
Granted, dying the fur only seems to hurt the dog’s ego rather than its health. Still.
Check out the puppy bowl this weekend (that now-annual display of oversized ears, paws and pouncing). Not a pink specimen among them and they manage to tackle America’s collective heart just fine. Then there are the always-beloved Budweiser dog-and-horse ads. Think that Clydesdale wouldn’t say something if its brother from another mother looked like cotton candy with legs?
I admit there are times I’ve teased Riley, my Jack Russell punk, about pulling out the color wand. If the San Francisco Giants’ World Series wins weren’t reason to consider turning his white patches orange, nothing is. And as the little guy grows older and his black and brown spots get shot through with gray, I have jokingly flirted with the idea of grabbing a Sharpie pen to turn back the clock. Think of it as Grecian Formula for Pups.
The difference is — I don’t. I might make the dogs wear a snowflake sweater for a visit to Santa Claus and make them borderline miserable with a skeleton or vampire bat costume come Halloween but one has to draw the line somewhere, preferably not on the animal. The difference between decorating one’s pet with overpriced clothing and accessories and turning a dog’s coat into a Rainbow Brite landscape is that one is easily removable. Dogs — and other pets, too — deserve a permanent home, not a permanent makeover.
Save the fashion for the collars; no canine wants to be the one at the dog park being barked at, “Your mother dresses you funny.” A little doggie dignity, please.
Here’s hoping Candy’s Technicolor dreamcoat is less permanent than her newfound home.
Michelle Durand’s column “Off the Beat” runs every Tuesday and Thursday. She can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (650) 344-5200 ext. 102. What do you think of this column? Send a letter to the editor: email@example.com.