Carter, in a royal blue rugby shirt and tie, was ready for his first birthday party. A 6-foot poster bearing his likeness marked the gathering spot at Allyne Park in San Francisco, where 60 of his closest friends dipped their toes in an inflatable pool and noshed on beach-themed cupcakes designed by a food stylist.
Yes, it was a bit over the top for a Yorkshire terrier, but his parents were so proud.
As Stephen Colbert once said, "I s*** thee not." A SIX FOOT POSTER? A FOOD STYLIST? Good Lord, I wouldn't dream of doing this for my child, let alone an animal!!
Oh, please, this is actually just the beginning of the article. It really does get even better.
At the Best in Show dog boutique on Castro Street, sales of high-end designer dog toys go up every year, said co-owner Richard Shiu, who can sometimes be found sporting a T-shirt that reads, "Dogs Are the New Kids."
"People want function, but they also want design," said Shiu, whose top-selling toy is a rubber squeaky bust of President Bush. (There's also Arnold Schwarzenegger, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and Hillary Rodham Clinton).
Six or seven years ago, Chiu said, pet "guardians" (the officially sanctioned term in San Francisco) had boring choices between rawhides and rope bones. Now, people with disposable income want water bowls in Eames-style bent cherrywood holders and Cubist pet car seats. Or a furry black "Jimmy Chew" pump.
Nationally, pet lovers spent $38.5 billion on their animals in 2006, up from $21 billion a decade earlier.
Miki Manji plunked down a couple of Benjamins at Best in Show for a gray zippered sweatshirt with a red leather Maltese cross on the back for her dapple dachshund, Louie.
"He goes everywhere with me," said Manji. "I'm going through a breakup, so he's really comforting to me right now."
"When you come home after work and your dog has been alone all day, you really feel guilty if you go out to dinner, so that's why Zazie is perfect for us," said Janet Moomaw, who shared a table with her German shepherd mix Findlay, her girlfriend and her neighborhood dog walker.