When I was little, my mom would make me wear the most mortifying ensembles.

Baubles. Clown suits. Ribbons with streamers. Dresses with shoulders that looked like cheerleader pompoms and felt like the pads the players they were cheering for wore. Mushroom hair cuts and thick awkward bangs. Tights and long sweatshirts. Poor fitting warm up suits that felt silly because I’d not yet myself been indoctrinated into the sports I hated watching. Hats reserved for cancer patients. Dresses reserved for the American Girl doll they never made or sold because no one would have bought her – even outta pity. High ponytails in bands sheathed with accordioned fabric.

Just mentally revisiting that’s a bit traumatizing for me.

So why then would I – would we, as a culture – do this to our dogs?

(Maybe misery loves company? Even when that company loves us unconditionally? And doesn’t deserve it?)

Yes, I’ve been guilty. Even now – when holidays come around – I give my pup the ol’ dress-up treatment. Just long enough to take and send a picture to whoever bought it for us, though. The only other time she dons a vest or sweater is when we’ve had to shave her down (because of matted fur) and she’s shaking like a motorized sex toy despite the layers of fleece blankets in which she’s cocooned. She doesn’t seem so discontent then.

Still, I kinda wanted know what the dog-whisperer professionals have to say about it.

And, to my surprise, the answer wasn’t totally “Nope; you’re an idiot. Everyone disrobe your dogs.” It actually condoned my canine abuse via wardrobe when it claimed that “smaller, short-haired dogs are ill-equipped for blizzard conditions. A snug-fitting sweater or coat would make a greyhound or Shar-Pei more comfortable in cold weather”. Still, that doesn’t leave much room or offer much of an excuse for the shiz loads of shut-ya-damn-mouth-and-take-off-that-scarf-it’s-65-effing-degrees Californians. But I suppose they just are passing on the family tradition of fashion torture of their youths, too. And I also suppose canine-cues will hafta suffice (teeth chattering for yes; shitting on the priceless shag rug for no) until dogs have the capacity to politely defer options like donning a plaid holiday frock for longer than a photo op.

Here’s ours.

(“No thanks” response omitted from picture.)

Yes, it was on half a minute before defiance induced excrement ensued.

Just like I used to do when my mama put me in barn colored turtlenecks and B.U.M. equipment sweatshirts.

And just like my mama used to do to me…. it’s still on her now.