The word accessory pet has come into common use only in the last few years. The term is fairly self-explanatory: a pet that is made into an accessory – like a scarf or rhinestone tiara, chosen to accentuate the outfit of the wearer, only it’s a Chihuahua. These pets are also known as “purse dogs.” They often weight approximately 5 pounds or less, so, can be easily stored in said purse. The phenomenon was made noteworthy by celebrities like Paris Hilton appearing on camera with a small dog tucked under the arm. It’s as though her personal stylist had looked at her before leaving the mansion and asked What’s missing here?… I know: a shivering rodent of a canine. That’s it! The eager masses, anxious to mimic the ersatz importance of carrying a live creature into public places, followed suit and now it’s a trend.
Unfortunately for the pet, this trend (like all trends) is just a passing fad. When Mr. Peebody gets too big for his britches (those britches being a fluffy dress and matching hair clip) or he has too many accidents on the (knock-off) designer dress, suddenly he’s homeless. The appearance of small breed dogs in California shelters has exploded in the last few years since puppies have become the fashion equivalent of a handbag. Except the puppies are the less stable investment. Like a cell phone, their age of obsolescence (the moment they ruin your property being the point of obsolescence) is relatively short. Whereas a Gucci bag, if properly cared for, may offer twice the use time of a living, growing, farting accessory pet. In light of this market threat to small dog breeders every where I offer this suggestion to increase the dogs’ utility: The dogs must evolve.
1. Tail speed
The joyous lifestyle of these dogs must be envied across the animal kingdom. They are kissed, pampered, carried, and regularly rewarding for doing nothing at all. When you see them they seem to have an air of regality: they survey the room and automatically wag their little hinies like it’s the Queen Mum’s waving hand. I suspect that the blissful existence of these super happy dogs will naturally lead to a tail that never stops wagging. They’ll become like little humming birds. Their heart rates will grow faster and faster until they must be in a constant state of motion (via the tail) to express their contentment. This is an advantageous adaptation, however. The owners, rewarded for their constant pampering of the animal, will discover that they have a convenient fanning mechanism (in the tail). Now on those hot Los Angeles days the owner need not worry if a café is air-conditioned, her dog has already got that covered! Breeders will start selecting for tail-speed, and include this as a selling point for purse-dogs.
2. Digestive efficiency
Since one of the major inconveniences of carrying a live creature is the fact that is has biological needs – i.e. eating and waste disposal – I propose that we find a way to minimize such needs. Purina can develop a new food that is delicious, yet entirely absorbed by the dog’s digestive track (hence, no waste). It will provide hydration and nutrient needs, and will be deliverable in the form of tiny bite-sized treats. Thus, the dog may ride in Mommy’s purse all day long with no risk to the silk lining therein.
If the objective of these pets’ lives is to be carried around like a stuffed effigy of a dog, there really is no reason for them to maintain the strength to walk around on their own. Generation after generation will be bred with weaker limbs and malformed kneecaps (already a known malady for Chihuahuas) until eventually they lose function, and no one will notice: Look at him he sits in that purse like such a good boy! This next adaptation may take more time, but the rewards will be great. I propose that these useless limbs, atrophied from lack of use, will eventually grow smaller and smaller, and with the right breeding program they could be made to fuse to the body, creating tiny pockets. Of course, given the size of the dog, the pockets wouldn’t be that big – and there could only be four of them – but the purse-dog will finally achieve his ultimate adaptation: the ability to look adorable AND store useful items in his bio-pouches. Imagine, just one dog could carry as much as a lipstick, ID, credit card, and box of Tic-Tacs!
4. New possibilities
The dog’s vestigial nubs, cum pockets, would offer one final benefit. The tiny slug of a canine could still offer hours of pool-time fun by using his little-leg-nubs as paddles and his super-fast waggy tail as propeller – kind of like a pontoon boat. He is now a floating drink delivery system … Be a good boy an fetch Mommy another Mai Tai.
These natural adaptations may take some time to develop, but they seem like natural progressions for a creature that has been bred for our pleasure and decoration. My humble suggestions would only increase the use and popularity of what has already become an irreversible trend. I like to think that if we all worked together, in twenty years we could change the name from Accessory pet to Utility pet.