People in Mexico pamper their pooches A chihuahua is hugged at a birthday party for Camila, a 1-year-old Dachshund
People in Mexico pamper their pooches
Lexile

Camila celebrated her first birthday in a blue-and-white striped dress. She played with her guests in a room decorated with pink balloons, lilacs and Hello Kitty posters.

When the cake arrived she barked at the single flickering candle. This provoked a similar reaction from the Chihuahuas, French bulldogs and Pomeranians in the room.

"We've never had a female dog so we wanted to do something special with her," said Valery Palma. She's a single 35-year-old lawyer who owns Camila.

Over the last decade, the growth of Mexico's middle class has created a new market for dogs. Fancy goods and services for pooches include clothing and accessory boutiques, spas and restaurants with doggie snacks cooked by a pastry chef.

It's a startling cultural shift in a country where a dog's life has long meant days chained to the roof of the house. The 2000 film "Amores Perros" used the brutal treatment of dogs as a metaphor for the inhumanity of contemporary Mexican society.

Mexico has an estimated 20 million dogs or more. Many of the dogs roam the streets hunting for food in the trash. Some spend their days shut up in apartments by owners who use them as living burglar alarms.

Many of the estimated 40 million Mexicans considered to be middle class are having fewer children than their parents did. So they have more money to spend on things like pets.

Palma has two dogs. She spent $300 on the birthday party for 11 canines and 16 people, complete with cake, presents and snacks, at a dog hotel featuring a gym and massage and aromatherapy services.

"Today people invest in their dog," said animal behaviorist Renan Medina.

"This goes beyond a trend," he said. "People see their dog as part of the family."

"We're seeing the growth of this idea in which a dog is an alternative to children," said Raul Valadez Azua, a paleozoologist at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City. "On the one hand, they are people who feel that the economic obligations of having a family are too high. On the other hand, they have the resources to give a lot of care to a pet."

Critical thinking challenge: Why are a market researcher, an animal behaviorist and a paleozoologist quoted for this story, along with a dog owner?

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COMMENTS (70)
  • MackenzieSh
    4/17/2014 - 01:47 p.m.

    I think it's cute because they need some type of attention. Dogs and cats, ect. might be animals but, they have feelings and take your actions toward them to heart. Good or bad.

  • Bman1234
    4/17/2014 - 05:09 p.m.

    I had three dogs and we treated them like family, but drastically different that the people in mexico. My dogs sat on the couch, ate people food, and slept on our beds, but never in a million years would my family spend 300$ on a birthday party for them!!! Don't get me wrong my family and I love our dogs, although the do get a little mischievous sometimes and we wish they could have done something else. Sometimes I do wish we could do something special for them, but one we don't have that kind of money to do it, and two is we love them very much and thats all they will ever need.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    4/17/2014 - 06:15 p.m.

    Things including pets like Camila's birthday, happen a lot. I think these kind of parties are necessary because people would get to know each other and dogs would get to know each other, too. Also, Mexico should be more aware of stray dogs in the streets by building animal shelters and not just ignore the stray dogs. $300 spent on a canine party is cheap unlike people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to have a party for their pet. I think that is weird.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why are a market researcher, an animal behaviorist and a paleozoologist quoted for this story, along with a dog owner?
    Answer: There is a market researcher because as the article says," over the last decade, the growth of Mexico's middle class has created a new market for dogs. Fancy goods and services for pooches include clothing and accessory boutiques, spas and restaurants with doggie snacks cooked by a pastry chef." There is an animal behaviorist because he/she would know if the canines are getting along well. There is a paleozoologist because he/she thinks that dog are like children and that they need to be cared for.

  • ClaireG-4
    4/17/2014 - 09:06 p.m.

    This article is about how people in Mexico are starting to pamper their dogs as much as possible. In Mexico, the middle class is getting even wealthier because they are having fewer kids and spending more money on themselves. Mexicans have done a complete round about because they used to chain their dogs up for live alarms.
    This is great! Mexico is so pretty and I hope they become visitable again.

  • AidanL-5
    4/17/2014 - 09:13 p.m.

    This article is about dogs in Mexico that get pampered. Valery Palma is that owner of Camila, a small dog who she threw a $300 birthday for. According to studies, young adults in Mexico are having less kids than in previous generations. With the money they save, they can use it on other things, such as pets. There are an estimated 20 million dogs in present day Mexico. Animal behaviorist Renan Medina noted that people see pets as part of the family and will pamper them on birthdays as we would with people.

    I liked this article because I found it interesting that there are roughly 20 million dogs in Mexico. Crazy!

  • ChirawanM-2
    4/18/2014 - 12:17 a.m.

    Camila the dachshund celebrated her first birthday almost like any other little girl. There were other dogs, lilacs, pink balloons, and even a cake. People in Mexico are known to pamper their pets like Camila. Many Mexicans are considered to be middle class and have less children than their parents. This means they have more money to spend on their dogs. Nowadays people invest in their dogs as an alternative to children. I think that it's perfectly fine to give so much love to your pet. For some owners, their dog is all they have as family. There are people where it's economically unsound to start a family, but they have the resources to give extra care to a pet.

  • RyanK-3
    4/18/2014 - 01:19 a.m.

    This story is about dogs. Camila is a dog that recently celebrated her birthday. Camilla's owners name is Valera palma. Gallery is a 35 year old lawyer. She recently threw a party for her dogs birthday. I think it is cool that people throw birthdays for their dogs.

  • Brinnb-2
    4/18/2014 - 01:40 a.m.

    This article is about a birthday party being thrown for a dog. In Mexico it is the new thing to get your dogs fancy clothes ad treat them like people. A lot of dog hotels and such are starting to open. I think this is cute but some dogs hate being dressed so that is kind of cruel to their pet if they are forcing them to wear it.

  • lisbett5k19
    4/18/2014 - 01:44 p.m.

    a que bonito perito yo teni uno q boi ni yo q lo amo mi perri ta I se murios que triste is yto ri a

  • RyanB-4
    4/18/2014 - 03:56 p.m.

    Camila celebrated her first birthday in a blue-and-white striped dress. She played with her guests in a room decorated with pink balloons, lilacs and Hello Kitty posters.Over the last decade, the growth of Mexico's middle class has created a new market for dogs. Fancy goods and services for pooches include clothing and accessory boutiques, spas and restaurants with doggie snacks cooked by a pastry chef.
    This is very wierd. I never thought animals would be treated this highly. This is really nice.

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