Even if you’re an eternal optimist, believing that humans really will figure out how to get along and survive into the next millennium, there are stories that dump a pail of cold water on such idealistic thoughts.
Ever hear of neuticles? Me either until I read Peter Haldeman’s story in The New York Times. Neuticles are … brace yourself … prosthetic testicles for neutered pets. Gregg A. Miller, who invented neuticles in 1995, told Haldeman that more than 500,000 animals have been surgically implanted with the silicone testes. Wow.
The prosthetic testicles allow one’s pet to retain its natural appearance, and “self-esteem.” Reality, however, suggests such implants help owners overcome the trauma of altering their pets.
Is this where we’re at in America now? Apparently.
“America’s house pets have worked their way into a new place in the hearts, homes, and wallets of their owners,” Michael Schaffer wrote in “One Nation Under Dog: Americans’ Love Affair With Our Dogs.”
Consider that last year Americans spent $69.5 billion on their pets, according to the American Pet Products Association. And as much as $62 million of that went for plastic surgery, according to Petplan, an insurance company. Popular plastic surgery procedures include tummy tucks, nose jobs and eyebrow and chin lifts.
The money Americans spend on pet pampering is, of course, obscene. It also speaks volumes about your customers. How do we market meat and milk to a population that is increasingly willing to spend themselves into poverty for a pet?
Consider the “lifestyles” of the pampered American dogs and cats that, as Haldeman writes, “increasingly mirror our own, greenness, mindfulness and wellness. The food aisles at the local pet store look more and more like those at the nearest Whole Foods: locally sourced produce; cage-free poultry; grain-free, pesticide-free, gluten-free everything else.”
Finally, as if neuticles and gluten-free food isn’t enough, Haldeman writes dogs and cats are indulging in cannabis, too.
“Start-up companies are marketing CBD, or cannabidiol (a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis), in the form of pet treats, sprays, even lip balms that provide relief, they promise, from ailments including anxiety and cancer.”