Last year I bought Teddy Bean a Halloween costume -- after no small amount of angst. On the one hand, how over-the-top cute would he be in a squirrel suit? On the other, would dressing him in gray fur with a matching headpiece and an accessory nut be, you know, some benign form of torture, maybe the canine version of wearing a "kick me" sign?
I ended up buying the costume, but I have yet to put it on him -- aside from a quickie test run last year, just to try it on. (Cute! Just as I thought! Sigh.)
Anyway, this week The New Yorker examines the deep philosophical question: How does your furry one feel about wearing a Batman costume for your Halloween pleasure?
As Alexandra Horowitz puts it: "Inasmuch as I can speak to the experience of any animal (including members of my own species), my answer is 'The dog, he does not like it.'"
He doesn't like it??!?!?!? Oh no!
Horowitz wrote the recent "Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know," a smart book about how dogs perceive the world -- a great, informative read.
She adds that while a costume might not be your dog's idea of a good time, it's also not "entirely torturous." As someone who tries not to make any of my three furries uncomfortable for even a second, baths aside -- that's not "entirely re-assuring."
And yet, she notes -- perhaps there's a little something for the pup in strapping on that squirrel get-up.
"Thoroughly domesticated, having put up with human behavior and its attendant silliness for something on the order of fourteen thousand years, the dog may suffer some costuming gladly," she writes.
Horowitz continues: "And this is why: by submitting to be a jack-o-lantern, hot dog (with bun), biker dude, or princess, the dog gains something valuable. He gets your attention, and probably an extra round of liver treats. Aside from the liver, there is little as nourishing to a dog as the attention of his owner. So we have bred dogs, and so they cooperatively are -- sometimes to a fault."
[Photo: Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo]