Clothes make the man, but what do they make the pooch?

TAMPA, Fl. - We love our pets and think of them as family members. We attribute human characteristics to them, something called ‘anthropomorphism.’   And sometimes, we really let it show by putting clothes on them.

Take shopkeeper Morena Herrera, owner of Agora, in downtown St. Petersburg. Morena has two rescue dogs: a Chinese Crested Papillon, and a Shih-Tzu mix.  They are darling dogs, and they are always wearing clothes. 

“It’s a mutual thing, it makes her happy, and it makes me happy,” said Herrera, as she navigates a frilly sundress over the head of her patient Papillon.

In fact, Herrera’s dogs are little ambassadors in her store. They greet  her customers in a different outfit each day. And there are lots of outfits including sunsuits and sweaters, lacy things and sport clothes.  The piles of little doll-sized clothing cover the store counter.

“I think they have more clothes than I do,” said Herrera.

The shopkeeper said her pooches have been through a lot, and she’s pledged to give them as much pampering as possible.  Part of that is a fashionable wardrobe. And Herrera is not alone. One poll shows 43 percent of pet owners think their pet has a fashion sense.  And 23 percent have purchased clothing for their pets. 

The streets of St. Pete are getting dressed up too, it appears.

Mural artist Sebastian Coolidge has been commissioned by the Central Arts District to paint several planters along Central Avenue and 5th Street.  They each will feature a different animal riding a bike… a tribute to the area’s growing affection for the bicycle.

“”All I intend to do with art in public is make people a little happier, add some fun and flavor to everyone’s day to day life as they’re walking the streets,” said Coolidge.

The artist has already made his mark on St. Petersburg, with a giant mural of a face painted on top of a downtown building.  He hopes to continue painting up the town, where ever the mood strikes, and commissions allow, of course.


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