Hama Tuma

Dogs and cats as pets live much better than most Africans—this is no news really. And yet, the depravity and cruelty of it all continues to amaze. Consider one newspaper report below:

“The air kisses were flying, the Italian sparkling wine was flowing, and white hyacinths perfumed the air. Marilyn Riseman, society doyenne, was in attendance, and by 7 p.m. the South End’s beautiful people were packed so thick it was hard to reach the cheese-and-olive platters. What else would you expect at the grand opening of a boutique hotel and day-care center for dogs? Boston may or may not have achieved its dream of being a world class city for humans, but from a canine perspective we have arrived.

The Urban Hound is but one of three new luxury pet hotels, complete with spa services and flat-screen televisions usually tuned to Animal Planet, that have opened in the past few months. Boston Red Dog Pet Resort and Spa, on Southampton Street near the Southeast Expressway, charges as much as $85 a night for a room, and at Fenway Bark in South Boston, the room rates go up to $150. Pricey? Perhaps, but because it is considered a service, at least there is no room tax.

Trade spending figures are hard to come by, but Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association, said these businesses represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the $48 billion pet industry. He credits baby boomers for much of the increasing humanization of pets and everything that has followed: designer leashes, five-figure doghouses, dogs staying in human hotels, and pet hotels that serve Starbucks (to the pets’ owners).

“Their children are growing up and moving out,’’ Vetere said, “and as helicopter parents, they need to find something else to hover over.’’

With 91 percent of owners calling their pet a member of the family and with the economic downturn easing, there is increasing demand for luxury pet lodging, according to a report by Packaged Facts, a Maryland research firm. Many facilities have added upscale amenities, such as customized suites with individualized decor or advanced air purification systems, according to the company’s most recent report.”

A $ 48 billion pet industry! Talk of being a spoilt dog: consider the following report from Japan.

“Merumo, a 10-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is a top model for dog magazines in Japan. Since she is a model, she is given special treatment such as two expensive haircuts a month, but the pampering doesn’t end there. A reporter visits the apartment where Merumo lives to discover the following luxuries:

  • The apartment has a special security system that won’t allow visitors to take the elevator to that floor without an invitation.

  • Merumo doesn’t like being hot, so her owner bought marble flooring for the living room. (estimated cost: 3,000,000 yen)

  • She drinks out of a silver Gucci dog bowl.

  • When leaving the house, she can ride in a Louis Vuitton carry bag (236,250 yen).

  • When going for a walk, she can wear one of several brand name dog collars and leashes: Hermès (65,000 yen + 85,000 yen) or Gucci (69,300).

  • Merumo’s owner rents another room in the apartment building just to store all of Merumo’s special clothing. Merumo has a fancy kimono (80,000 yen), 10 fur coats (one costs 180,000 yen), and a whole bunch of other stuff. (Total cost: about 3,000,000 yen)

Since Merumo is pretty old in dog years, her owner is determined to give her the finest foods. A typical meal consists of premium vegetables special ordered from a department store prepared alongside some expensive Matsusaka beef (2,500 yen for 100 grams). The humans of the house eat cheap vegetables and chicken from the local grocery store.

Merumo’s owner justifies the money she spends by comparing Merumo to a child. Many parents spend large sums of money to send their children to college, so why can’t she spend a similar amount buying dresses and fancy food for Merumo?”

Is there no responsibility at all? No urge to have a balance in one’s outlook towards other human beings. Consider the following report:

“According to a conservative estimate the pet owning citizens of the European Union spend about 150 million USD daily or 45 billion USD per annum on pet food. This staggering amount that the citizens of the European Union spent to keep their cats and dogs alive is nearly three times as much as the total amount that Sub-Saharan Africa annually gets from the industrialized countries in terms of official development assistance”.

This is no war on dogs but on the humans who own these dogs. Let us not generalize either. The pampered dog in Africa is way down the dog class ladder even if it lives better off than the majority of Africans. It is common knowledge that the status of pampered dogs in the USA and Europe is much higher than that of the pampered dogs in Africa just as the rich in America and Europe are many in number and more wealthy than those in Africa. In Ethiopia, anyone with more than US$200,000 becomes a millionaire Birr wise. The Mobutus, Bongos, Meles and Muabaraks are not really that many—too greedy and restrictive may best explain the situation. And yet, pampered African dogs are now accompanying their masters to Joburg and Bangkok for specialized medical care. Some apologists of the African tyrants proclaim loud and high that the health system has improved (for example in Ethiopia) while no one with real money would be found dreaming of entering an Ethiopian hospital. Why should the dogs trust hospitals their masters have no confidence in? The answer is clear. Dogs have been “humanized” and Africans “dehumanized”—go check the capsized boats and black corpses of Lampadusa for one. The African children in the arms of Madonna, Jolie and others could very well be pets of a sort.

Here is another report:

April 8/ 2011 at 11:34am




A British dog owner has splashed out an incredible £20 000 on giving her pampered pooch the perfect wedding day, says a report.

According to orange news, Louise Harris, 32, invited 80 guests to the lavish ceremony to watch her Yorkshire terrier Lola tie the knot with Mugly, a Chinese Crested.

The bash was reportedly held in an outdoor marquee in the grounds of a mansion in Essex, costing £2 500 for the venue alone.

Lola wore a £1 000 wedding dress, customized with 1 800 Swarovski crystals.

Her outfit was finished off with a £400 pearl necklace, Swarovski crystal leg cuffs costing £250, and finally a Swarovski crystal lead costing £350.

Harris also spent £1 000 on flowers, £3 000 on designers to decorate the marquee, £400 on a personal wedding planner, and even £400 for security guards, the report said.

Harris, who owns two other Yorkshire Terriers, Lulu, four, and two-year-old Larry, who acted as bridesmaid and page boy, was quoted as saying: “I wanted Lola to have the perfect day.

“My dogs are my pride and joy so nothing is too good for them. I enjoy spoiling them because it makes me happy.”

Harris, who runs a dog boutique and grooming parlour, ran an online competition on her website and Facebook to find the perfect husband for Lola.

She said she had received hundreds of entries but whittled it down to a final six potential partners and was surprised when Lola’s obvious favourite was Mugly, voted Britain’s ugliest dog.

According to the report, Harris said: “I must admit when I went to meet Bev and Mugly I really didn’t think Lola would like him. She is a bit of a diva and loves her clothes and jewellery so I did think she would go for a dog more like her.

“But they do say opposites attract and they happily played together all day. They seemed to really enjoy being together and had a lot of fun so I thought he was the perfect future husband for Lola.”

No need to mention that most Africans survive on US$ 2 per day. Some do not feel guilty on such spending on their pets as they claim that $26.53 billion is spent on cafes, restaurants and takeaways while dogs ( and to a certain extent even cats) at least greet you with joy and act as good and long lasting companions. Moreover, pampering dogs is not as costly or as bad for example as pampering George W. Bush who said recently “I miss being pampered” and Bush was no pet at all. We now have quite a few millionaire dogs and cats thanks to inheritance and laws allowing it. But, I still have no report if these dog or cat millionaires have given some money to charities officially claiming to help African children even though quite a few of such bodies or organizations are known to be merciless swindlers– cruel dogs in the bad sense of the word.

In the end it is obvious that some dogs are more equal than others and possibly much better than some robbers and despots who call themselves human. It’s a sad, sad world we live in and our continent has gone to the dogs.


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