One summer afternoon when my daughter, Jordan, was 7, we went to a jewelry store to pick up a repaired bracelet. In a display case were artisan-made charms for a dog’s collar.
Jordan quickly pointed to a dog bone charm encrusted with Swarovski crystals. “Mama, Lucy needs this on her collar. She would look so pretty.” Emphasis on the “so.”
I peered into the case. Seventy-five dollars, tax not included. All I could think of was who on earth would spend $75 dollars plus tax on a piece of jewelry for their dog?
Apparently, it’s not quite as uncommon as I thought.
According to Stanley Coren, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, people often buy gifts for their dogs similar to gifts that they might give human family members. These gifts are often more of an expression of their own personality than their dog’s, Coren told psychologytoday.com.
I loved Lucy and have spent more money than I should on toys and other dog items for her. But like the professor says, I purchased the items because I wanted Lucy to have them, not because she wanted or would even use them. But a $75 crystal dog bone? That was a bridge too far for even me to cross.
I look down at my sweet daughter. How am I going to tell her no. How am I going to tell those big brown hopeful eyes that her separation anxiety-ridden, Heinz 57 mutt, as wonderful as she was, was not getting an overpriced charm to adorn her collar?
I again peered into the display case, attempting to buy time.
“With all of Lucy’s fur it would be hard to see that small charm,” I said. Lucy had the most beautiful coat of thick, reddish-brown fur.
Jordan didn’t say anything. She gazed longingly at the sparkly charm. I could sense she wasn’t following my line of reasoning.
“You know, Jordan, Lucy loves you so much that she would probably like a necklace that you made just for her better than the charm,” I said, emphasis on the “so.”
Jordan eyed me suspiciously.
I knew my argument was failing.
“And you could see it much better than that tiny, little charm,” I added, holding my index finger and thumb close together to emphasize my point.
Her big brown eyes lit up. “Could I make one as soon as we get home? Will you help me?”
Fix dinner or an arts and crafts project with my kid?
“Absolutely,” I said.
At home we gathered various types of ribbon and plastic and wooden beads. We carried all our supplies to the kitchen table and unceremoniously dumped them. Then we went to work.
First, we cut long lengths of ribbon. Then we sorted through the containers of beads to make our choices. I gravitate toward variations of blues and greens. Jordan’s favorite color is white.
In short order, Lucy was sporting several necklaces. One made with dark blue ribbon and alternating blue and green plastic beads. One made with white curly ribbon and white wooden beads. The third necklace was a mixture of colored plastic and wooden beads strung on a pink polka a dot ribbon..
Soon after my husband, Ed, came home from work to find Jordan and Lucy lounging in the family room. The loveable mutt adorned with her artisan-made necklaces.
Glancing at the kitchen table covered with ribbon and beads, he said, “I assume we’re having pizza tonight.”
“Your assumption,” I told him, “is correct.”