Pet Product News Editorial Blog:
October 31, 2011
By Elizabeth Creith
Nothing says “tough dog” like a black leather collar with bright metal studs.
We used to carry those collars, in sizes from “pocket pooch” to “Clydesdale.” Seriously, some of them were almost big enough to serve as a belt for your average woman. I haven't seen many Newfs in studs and black leather (although how could you tell, underneath those jowls?) but if anyone felt the need for a Newf-sized collar, we had it.
The ones we sold most often, though, were for toy poodles and Boston terriers. Most of my barn cats would have eaten a Boston terrier for lunch and a toy poodle for dessert. I suppose the incongruity factor of a tiny dog in studs and spikes was what made the combination appealing.
So the tiny collars came and went, and the larger ones hung around waiting to be dusted—or shoplifted. Black leather collars with studs are a target for the light-fingered.
One mid-December afternoon two young women came in. They were dressed in full Goth—black T-shirts, jackets, jeans, boots, hair, nail polish, lipstick and eyeliner, relieved by silver studs just about everywhere they could be studded.
They looked at the leather collars, hanging on the wall behind the counter.
“Could I see that collar, the third one over?” the taller woman asked David.
He got it down for her, and she held it in both hands, then put it around her neck and turned to let her friend buckle it. It actually looked pretty good on her, and it certainly suited her style. She ran her finger under the collar, and then took it off.
“Can I have the one next to it? The smaller one?” she asked. David swapped collars for her, and she tried the second one on.
“That's better,” she said, and took it off. “Now I'd like to see the smallest one.”
“Matching dogs?” David asked as he gave it to her. We once ordered matching coats for a couple's two dogs, an English Mastiff and a pug—matching studded collars wouldn't be unusual.
She looped the collar around her wrist, buckled it and shook her hand. The collar slid right over her hand.
“Can I try this on you?” she asked David.
“Sure,” David said. He held out his arm and she put the collar around it and checked that it wouldn't slip off.
“Do you have two of this size?” she said, undoing it, “Great. I'll take these three. I don't suppose you do gift wrap?”
“You're the first person to ask,” I said, as David began to ring up the sale. “Sorry, we don't really have anything.”
“That's okay,” she said. “I can wrap it at home. Or maybe I won't bother.”
“Dogs usually don't care anyway,” I said.
“One hundred twelve dollars and fifty-six cents, please,” David said. She handed him a fan of twenties.
“I don't have a dog,” she said. “They're for my boyfriend—that's half his Christmas present. The other half is I'm going to tie hi—“
“Here's your change,” David said, handing it to her. He had the collars in a bag and into her hands in about two seconds.
“And Merry Christmas,” I said.
We didn't dare look at each other until the door clicked shut behind them. Once our eyes met, we couldn't stop laughing.
“Well, if we can't make it as a pet store,” David said when he could breathe again, “we can always open a sex shop.”
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