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Is Your Puppy a Yuppie? by Yamile Nesrala

September 24, 2018

Enter a dog park these days, and you’ll see a new breed of dog has emerged. I’m not talking about new designer breeds like chiweenies or morkies, although those are certainly part of the trend. I’m talking about the yuppie puppy, an appropriately hashtag-ready alias that fits the species’ natural habitat (Instagram, naturally). Yuppie pups tend to have names like Tofu, Tuna, or Kale (which, I should note, are not staples of the modern canine diet, but Meat Byproducts doesn’t have quite the same ring, and these lucky pooches don’t eat that dreadful stuff anyway). They have closets full of monogrammed outfits, sleep with their pawrents in king-size TempurPedic mattresses, and enjoy a jam-packed schedule of doggie day camp, grooming sessions, and puppy school that would put the human offspring of any helicopter parent to shame.
 
Sound familiar? Read on for some signs to watch out for if you suspect your puppy may be a yuppie.
  
(1)    You trade (fur) baby names with Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian.
Gone are the days when puppies from well-heeled families got names like Spot, Rover, or Fido. Instead, our fur babies now bear the names of our favorite foods, places, and celebrities. I’m thinking of Insta-famous pups like Tuna (of#TunaMeltsMyHeart fame), Tofu the Corgi (@Tofu_corgi), and my favorite Miami boy, Bruce Wayne (@IamBruceWayneBitch). At my own dog’s puppy kindergarten class, the other two pupils were a gorgeous purebred Vizsla named Coltrane who came in each week with his two jazz-loving daddies, and Montana, a rare breed of husky with a minor aggression problem who was usually brought by the family’s full-time nanny (unclear whether there were any human children in the home).
 
(2)    You have a posse of service providers who attend to your dog’s every need.
They say it takes a village, and it does. Growing up, I always had anywhere from one to four dogs at a time, and none of them seemed to require anything more than regular feeding, cuddles, and the occasional visit to the vet. But soon after rescuing my MinPin mix, Pedro, I found myself employing an ever-growing list of canine specialists – a groomer, dog-sitter, walkers, trainers, a puppy psychologist, and a pet portrait photographer. I even flirted with the idea of hiring a puppy masseuse, but settled for the DIY approach with some pet “calming balm” I bought from a guy at the local popup market, who assured me it would reduce his separation anxiety. (I envisioned it going something like this, but Pedro shredded my yoga mat to pieces when I left him alone for five minutes shortly after our first session. Whether that was an expression of anxiety or a rebellion against yuppie fitness habits, who can say?)
(3)    Your pup’s food lives in the fridge, not the pantry, and it includes not only “dog food” but also stuff like eggs, salmon skin, and fresh produce.
Forget the kibble or table scraps. Your dog’s meals are freshly made in small batches by a nearby boutique provider, require refrigeration, and are always organic and grain-free (among other things, you’ve bonded over your shared aversion to gluten and its attendant evils). You also feed him raw eggs to keep his coat shiny, bone marrow broth for healthy joints, probiotics for gut flora, and fish oil for a healthy libido. If you find yourself using terms like “superfoods” and antioxidants while discussing your dog’s nutritional needs, you’re safely in yuppie territory.
 
(4)    You share your dog’s genetic test results with strangers, and use them to explain his behavior.
“Know thyself,” said the ancients, and the modern yuppie took note. The quest for greater self-knowledge that so motivated the likes of Plato and Socrates remains a pervasive force in yuppie life, giving rise to trends like the blood type diet, 23andMe genetic testing, and continued reliance on Zodiac signs despite their evident fickleness (I spent a lifetime reconciling my messy, stubborn, ever-so-slightly egotistical self with a Virgo’s humble grace before NASA informed me that I was in fact a Leo all along).
 
When I first adopted Pedro, I was told he was a “dachshund mix,” but I’m a firm believer in hard science (Zodiac reliance aside), so I had his spit tested through Wisdom Panel and found out he has zero sausage blood. He’s in fact 50% miniature pinscher, 12.5% corgi, 12.5% boxer, and 25% “mixed beyond” what the test could account for, which I’ve taken to calling his “special sauce.” When people comment on his tenacity and loyalty (read: stubbornness and clinginess, because the separation anxiety never did go away entirely), I smile and say: “that’s the corgi and boxer in him (respectively)!”
 (5)    You’re reading this while chugging a chai latte with one hand and petting your pooch’s professionally shampooed coat with the other.
You’re a yuppie. Yuppiedom has gotten less screen time with the advent of its underemployed, over-caffeinated counterpart, the hipster, but the phenomenon is alive and well. If you’re a young urban professional with a high-paying job and you enjoy things like brunch, exercise classes that require special socks, farmers markets, and telling people about your suspected gluten and dairy allergies (which your pooch has surely inherited), you’re a textbook yuppie. And yuppie humans spawn yuppie pups. No reason to be ashamed. It’s natural to raise your little Tempeh as a kindred spirit who enjoys the finer things in life, so take some advice from a fellow yuppie dog mama and embrace it. All over Instagram, of course. Just remember that dogs are wild little beasts, and sometimes the best you can do for them is set the camera aside, let them get a little dirty, and give them a big belly rub.