Cali, at 8 months old, is dashing full speed ahead into adolescence. Having read the latest studies and talked to her breeder, I know that it is better for her health to wait to spay her until she is done growing — in about another year. That means that she will have a “season” (or three).
Before all the spay and neuter people howl, let me say this: I do not think that having an intact dog of either sex is easy or desirable. I agree that most pets should be spayed or neutered. I also want what is best for my dog, and I know that I can ensure that Cali is safe and does not inadvertently become a teen mom.
Back to Cali’s impending womanhood. We’ve had the talk about birds, bees, and handsome boy dogs. And I went online to search for some britches for my soon-to-be bitch in heat. That’s not the only reason a furry girl (or guy) might need to go shopping. Dogs need clothing for different reasons. As dogs age, some (like some humans) become a bit leaky. Then there are the ones who lose control when they get excited.
Whatever the reason, there are dozens and dozens of fashion options out there. Anything from princess skirts to rhinestone jeans to cargo pants. Camouflage and spangles. Cotton candy pink to red plaid flannel. Miniskirts, shorts, and overalls with little criss-cross straps — even thongs — for the girls. Overalls, jeans, jock straps and cummerbunds for the boys. Unisex tracksuits, girlie ball gowns, Hawaiian-style board shorts, you name it.
If your dog fits into a purse, that is.
Unwilling to give up after a short search turned up … nothing, I kept digging. I optimistically clicked to a link for X-large Petego Hot Pants. They come in black or hot pink and feature a small ruffle bow. Sounded good (in conservative black, maybe), but … an extra-large measures 16 inches at the waist. Sixteen inches! Cali was 16 inches around the waist when she was 3 months old. Waaay before puberty.
She’d look great in a pair of cargo pants, which were offered in sizes 00 to 6. Sounded promising. But a size 6 fits dogs only up to 25 lbs. That mark on the scale is in Cali’s very distant past. (The 00 is for dogs who weigh under 2 pounds. Are there really adult dogs that small?)
Maybe a ruffled miniskirt with polka dots would do? Adorable, age-appropriate, and available in extra-small to extra-large. But wait. The extra-large fits dogs up to 22 lbs. In what universe is a 22-pound dog “extra-large”?!
Cali could have ordered the urban ski pants for dogs from Baxterboo (up to a 26-inch waist) but they seemed a bit warm for a Florida summer. The cute checkered pants, in brown or pink, however, only go up to a waist of 11 inches. Baxterboo did have lavender bell bottoms in Cali’s size (on sale)! But Cali’s not really the hippy chick type. She wants to fit in with Florida’s sundress-and-flip-flops vibe.
Finally, I found what Cali needed at two retailers on Etsy.com. Thank goodness for creative, entrepreneurial people. Both Etsy retailers will customize for size and fabric, so dogs of all sizes, shapes, and tastes can dress stylishly during their time of the month.
The first retailer, CodysHaven, proclaims that “Larger breed girls need to look good too.” Darn right they do. CodysHaven sent us a red, star-spangled pair of shorts for Cali that are adorable. There are dozens of fabrics to choose from, in case stars aren’t your style.
Cali’s second, dressier outfit is from The Purple Puppy. It is more of a miniskirt, with big, colorful daisies and a white ruffle.
Flowers and stars. Cali is, after all, still a little girl. Maybe it’s better that the hot pants didn’t come in her size.