Archive for January, 2012
I’m busy writing away upstairs. Last time I looked, it was 4:00 in the afternoon. Suddenly, I hear my dog Tasha get up off the floor next to me, she shakes, she moves in closer, and I can feel her expectant stare right on me. It’s 5:45, and the dinner routine is about to start–just 15 minutes from can-opening time, and somehow, she knows it. I might still be consumed with work, but at the witching hour, I have no choice but to pull myself away from the computer and out of my chair. I must trundle downstairs to attend to the needs of my dog.
I didn’t mean to train my dog to eat at such a specific time, but 6 o’clock it is–every night. On the dot. If I stay out late, I think Tasha sits beside her food bowl, waiting for me to come home and get on with it. She’s always right where she should be, sitting patiently (but not too patiently), and drooling to her heart’s content.
I read something the other day that went like this: “Being human is the new black.” I think it’s true. With all of the social experience we’re sharing online these days, communicating in a human way is almost the expectation.
This human-like approach made me think of Siri, the human-like voice that came with my new iPhone. Siri tries to answer whatever question I might have. Before she responds, she considers my voice query with a thoughtful phrase, such as “Let me check on that” or “Let me think about that”–something to give me confidence. If she can’t dig up an answer, Siri admits it by saying, “I can’t answer that,” and then dumps me into my browser so I can do my own searching. Technically, I know she’s relying on a huge database to help me out, but her friendly tone doesn’t give that away, and I appreciate the effort.
I live in Seattle, where there are twice as many dogs as kids. I don’t have kids, and I do have a well-loved dog, so this is good to hear–I’m not alone. As I look around, it makes sense that dogs are more popular than ever. Dog owners are devoted to their pets. Dogs demand love—they won’t let us ignore them.
Because we love them so much, dogs are good for business. While our economy has sagged, we are spending as much or more on our dogs. They have become a $50 billion business and an entrepreneur’s best friend. Popular products and services are promoted and sold by featuring dogs, some appearing in TV ads and some between the covers of dog magazines.
The pet market is consistently ranked in the top ten for business opportunities, and as more and more dog owners become “dog people,” things will only get better business-wise. According to the American Pet Products Association, dogs are found in 46.3 million homes across America. (By contrast, cats are in 38 million, freshwater fish in 11 million, birds in 5 million and saltwater fish are last, in just 700,000 homes.)