Savannah Morning News
June 25, 2017
The world is going to the dogs. Literally. Have you noticed? The four-leggeds are everywhere. People can’t take a walk without their dog. They can’t take a drive without their dog. They can’t shop, dine, visit the farmers market, go on vacation, go to work, go to a soccer game, grab a cup of coffee, go for a ride on a boat, pick up a book at the library without their dog. They can’t ride their bikes without a dog. Maybe the dog doesn’t want to huff and puff on the end of a leash in 90-degree heat while their owners are pedaling in a low gear, enjoying a bit of a breeze. Did anyone ever ask the dog? No. Some dogs just like to sit around and sleep. I’ve seen this. I understand this.
And what about the rash of new shops selling all things dogs? Which came first: all the dogs we see in the park, in the cars, on the streets or all the merch? What about “wag more, talk less”? When did that enter the bumper sticker lexicon? No telling.
After bicycling past one of the four (!) Woof Gang bakery stores in Savannah (when I couldn’t really see what it was about), I finally stopped and went into one for the first time. Like me, maybe you thought it was. well, a bakery. You know, cookies, cupcakes, bread. And at first glance it does have all these things – and more. Can you say ice cream, chicken pot pie, apple and carrot flavored biscuits, cheese and bacon softies? Truly. Except these playful, whimsical, ornate swirls of pink, blue, and purple buttercream in the shape of hearts, stars and half-moons are … for dogs. Wait! Want to make your own delicacies? Check out the next shelf. You’ll find cake mix. For dogs.
Just for the record, I didn’t see any vegan and/or vegetarian goodies. Not yet.
But there was a special display on doggie dental care. No wonder. Sugar. Teeth. Decay. Humans. Dogs. Whatever. And wherever there are teeth. There’s a reason archeologists say primitive man – and probably dog – display a much better set of choppers than we modern folk do. Sugar! Which reminds me: have you taken your dog to the vet lately for a teeth-cleaning? Get out your wallet. Ouch. And get ready to wait a week or so. There’s usually a ton of people ahead of you.
Not to miss a bet on a contemporary, trendy, feel-good term, someone in Orlando, Fla., (where the Woof Gang bakery concept originated), thought to call these franchise outfits “neighborhood” stores. They might be individual franchises but they’re quite as local as you might think.
Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. I’ve had dogs for eons. Dogs that last for eons, too. Dinah? She died at 18. Lucy? 17. Patches? 16. Charlie, my current pooch, a dead-ringer for Patches (in fact sometimes I call her Patches by mistake; so do my friends), is a mere babe. She’s only 15. Or is it 16? Sometimes I lose track. But hardly a day goes by when I don’t bend down (she can’t jump on the sofa anymore – not a bad thing), pick her up, cradle her bony body in my arms, look at her white muzzle and white eyebrows, stare into her watery, hazel brown, soulful eyes, and say, “I love you so much, Charlie.”
But I don’t love dogs as much as I used to. I’m not keen on sharing a narrow sidewalk or designated running path with dogs, albeit on a leash, especially when they seem to head straight for me. I’m not excited when dogs jump (or is it lunge?) on me – young dogs, old dogs, puppies. I’m not thrilled when we’re out for a nice walk and a dog snarls at me (or my dogs) and his or her handler says, “She doesn’t mean it. She just doesn’t like small dogs.” Or, “Is your dog a girl? He doesn’t like girls.” Or, “It doesn’t mean anything when he growls.” Then there’s my current favorite. The other day I looked at a dog with suspicion and the owner said, “Don’t worry. He’s on doggy Prozac.”
On second thought, maybe my beef is with dog owners, not dogs.