Puppies are for life and not just for lockdown

As people go back to work, the reality of dog ownership will, I reckon, mean even more internet ads with people ‘having to sell my best friend due to personal circumstances’

Shaparak Khorsandi
Friday 24 July 2020 16:34 BST
The President of PETA says pet owners should not use the word 'pet' as its patronising to animals

I never deliberately keep up with what Katie Price gets up to, but she is one of those tabloid celebrities who I hear about almost by osmosis.

In a supermarket I’ll pass the magazines on my way to the chocolate spread aisle, and news of what her mother thinks of her latest surgery, or how many babies she plans to have, wafts off the shelves and seeps into my pores. Then, in an idle moment, I’ll find myself on her Instagram page, watching videos of her with her children, close-ups of her house and generally having a gawp at the life of this woman who has barely been out of the tabloids and magazines in my adult years. She’s an artist at creating ways to keep the press interested in what she’s up to, who she is dating, and where she has sewn her latest boob.

Twice I have judged her harshly. The first time was in the early 2000s when she sold a story about Gareth Gates losing his virginity to her. The guy was 17. At 17, I was mortified if I sneezed in public let alone have everyone know I lost my virginity to someone mega famous who was now talking about my bits and bobs in the press. Can you imagine if a 23-year-old male celebrity had done that to a 17-year-old girl? He’d have been cancelled quicker than you could say, “It’s 2002, what’s ‘cancelled’?”

The second time was this week when, for the third time, a dog she had acquired died in an accident. Peta has waded in and declared Price should not be allowed more pets and should “get cuddly toys instead”. To be fair, there should be a rule that at two dead dogs, authorities should be able to say “That’s it, no doggies for you any more. You can have goldfish. Fish is all you can have.” No one should lose three dogs to accidents (she also lost a horse in a car accident, but let’s stick with dogs for now).

During lockdown there has been not only a surge in banana bread makers but also new puppy owners. People have been kicking about the house, perhaps sad their children are isolated from friends, and a puppy has seemed the perfect, if a little messy, way to tackle the monotony. Also, dogs make great content. A new puppy always looks adorable on social media. I post pictures of my own dog sometimes and nice people from all over the country send me pictures of theirs and it’s simply lovely. People don’t try to emulate my lifestyle. If they did, they’d scatter dog hair around their house and bung a pile of un-ironed clothes in the middle of it all for three weeks.

All over the socials during lockdown there have been pictures of new cockapoos, cavapoos, maltipoos and other varieties of poos for people who want a cuddly dog without the inconvenience of fur all over the house. (It’s understandable. I’m rather partial to chest hair on a man but hate it all over the bathroom and often wondered how it would be if we bred them with poodles.)

The price of puppies as a result of lockdown has gone through the roof. Upwards of £3,500 for pedigrees is a joke when you can get a perfectly good second-hand dog that needs a loving home for next to nothing.

Eventually though, people will have to go back to work and the reality of dog ownership will, I reckon, mean even more ads on the internet with people “having to sell my best friend due to personal circumstances”. Already the puppy sites are awash with messages like this. Fancy trying to sell your unwanted dog like it’s a coat you’ve bought and changed your mind about.

Katie Price’s latest dog was a birthday gift to her 13-year-old daughter, Princess, who also got her own Instagram page, which she filled with pictures and videos of her pup. Tagged in were the breeders who had given them the expensive dog for free and got to have a little publicity for their dog breeding enterprise. Of course I know that accidents happen and that there’s a 13-year-old here who is devastated by the loss of a pet. I’m not saying they were deliberately negligent; I’m just saying maybe lay off buying real live pets for a bit and take up origami instead. It won’t be as exciting on Instagram but it will keep Peta and dog-loving columnists off your back.

Also remember Brooke Houts? The YouTuber who accidentally uploaded a video of herself “abusing” a Doberman puppy? Have we learned nothing from that? Seemingly not.

The internet is awash with people trying to make an influencer career for themselves using a dog. There is only one reason you should get a puppy: if you are really tired of not having shoes that look like chewed-up pancakes. They are for life, not just for lockdown.

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