AP NEWS

Doggone fashion!

February 18, 2019

SUN RIVER TERRACE — Vesta Barrett loves jewelry. She wears necklaces, bracelets, rings and, of course, earrings.

She also dearly loves her two dogs.

Her fondness for jewelry and her love of her two dogs collided.

Her two dogs, a 1-year-old chihuahua-poodle mix named Miss Pinky and a 17-year-old chihuahua named Itsy Bitsy are fashion statements.

The two four-legged females are quite unusual in the fact they each sport a pierced left ear, featuring a small and somewhat hard to notice earring.

While Barrett, 59, loves her jewelry — she wears multiple rings, bracelets and necklaces — it was her late father’s idea to have Itsy Bitsy’s left ear pierced. Her father, Harris Fulton, who passed away three years ago, reasoned that if the dog was ever lost, she could claim it by the earring.

At first somewhat skeptical, she eventually followed his advice. Using her own ear piercing device, she successfully pieced the dog’s ear. She said it took only one second and the dog never made a sound.

When Miss Pinky became part of her family about a year ago, her left ear was pierced as well.

The two hairy sisters share three sets of earrings: pearl, turquoise and bling-bling. (That’s how Vesta described the last set.)

“People do notice,” she said. “The dogs go almost everywhere with me. You could say they are spoiled.”

It likely wouldn’t be too difficult to spot the earring-wearing dogs. Other than Barrett, who has their dogs’ ears pierced?

Virtually no one. And that’s good, noted Emily Patterson-Kane, an animal welfare scientist with the American Veterinary Medical Association, headquartered in Schaumburg.

Currently, only two states — New York and New Jersey — had made it a crime to pierce a dog.

“I can tell you this does not come up very often,” said Patterson-Kane, regarding the Daily Journal’s call seeking comment.

Basically, the question revolved around whether the procedure is legal.

She said the question should be, “Would this procedure cause an animal to die or would it cause them discomfort?”

Patterson-Kane said the topic of piercing rarely comes up because no one does it. Thankfully, she added.

“But it is unnecessary. It does not benefit the animal in any way,” she said.

That is the question someone must ask themselves before embarking on any procedure.

“Although it is a small (health) risk, it is a risk. It is a small risk that is unjustified,” she said.

She said the same rule applies to pet owners who have dogs’ ears’ cropped or tails’ docked.

Barrett said she does get comments about her dogs’ “bling.”

“I get asked: ‘Is that an earring in her ear?’ I say, ‘Yes. She’s a lady.’”

She said each earring set cost about $5. She said they are earrings designed for little girls.

“I don’t think of them as dogs. I think of them as having a personality like me,” she said. “I’m a fan of jewelry. If I look good, they have to look good.”

From her living room easy chair where the dogs are seated on her lap, Barrett simply smiled at the busy twosome.

“This is what they do. Hang around with me on the chair.”