Teddy, my family’s Lab, sports a snazzy bandana every time he comes back from Barb, the groomer.
It reminds me of a kid getting a lollipop as a reward for not screaming while getting a haircut. For Teddy, the bandana is his reward for not resisting too much during his bath.
“Aren’t you a handsome boy,” I say, looking at the clean, fresh-smelling dog sporting his neckwear, always seasonally appropriate.
I’m not sure Teddy’s buying it. I’m reasonably sure he’s happy the whole bathing ordeal is over.
Normally, when I think of bandanas, I think of two-legged cowboys or railroad engineers, not four-legged pooches.
The triangular piece of cloth, it turns out, has roots that can be traced to the distant past.
According to Wyomingtraders.com, bandanas actually originated from the Sanskrit word “badhnati,” or “to tie.” The word became anglicized in the 18th century as “bandannoes” or cotton handkerchief.
Two-legged uses included covering the nose and mouth for protection against dust and dirt and wiping off sweat.
Four-legged uses are much more varied.
Some dog owners spray bandanas with calming pheromones so their canine companions are relaxed as they hike or jog together.
There are also color-coded bandanas letting others know if a dog is friendly, a service animal or blind.
Still others have anti-insect repellent imbedded in the fibers to ward off pesky bugs.
I’ve even seen glow-in-the-dark reflective bandanas for dogs to wear when they are taking nightly walks.
But most bandanas dogs wear are fun-related, coming in a wide variety of colors with various designs, patterns and logos. The messages vary from whimsical to congratulatory.
Sunny, my niece Lauren’s 2-year-old Lab, has 36 of these fun-related bandanas. The yellow Lab sports colorful ones with multiple themes including sneakers, bacon and eggs and unicorns. Sunny will also wear a Chicago Bears bandana showing her support for the football team her dad, Dan, roots for.
Bandanas proclaiming a dog’s attributes are plentiful. Messages about silliness, giving kisses (licks) to any and all or passing gas at will have been described on bandanas.
Facebook is loaded with photos of dogs sporting bandanas announcing a baby or a wedding.
Teddy’s bandana collection is small and falls into the fun category. Some have sayings on them such as “I’m so cute even the Grinch wants to steal me” or “Caution: I break hearts.”
Others celebrate accomplishments. Teddy has a bandana from the American Kennel Club for passing the Canine Good Citizen test.
The pooch also has bandanas from events we support. A bright yellow bandana with black lettering and design showcases “Labapalooza,” a yearly fundraiser for the rescue organization he came from.
I don’t believe Teddy minds wearing bandanas. He doesn’t protest or resist when one is tied around his neck. He doesn’t rub against the floor or sofa trying to remove the bandana, either.
Our passed dog, Lucy, never got comfortable wearing them, so we stopped trying.
For the most part, Teddy only wears bandanas when we’re snapping holiday or special photographs. After the photo session, Ed, my husband and Teddy’s dad, immediately takes off the bandana.
I guess Ed’s not too crazy about them. I say “guess” because I’ve never asked his opinion.
If he’d say no, I would probably still buy them. So, what’s the point in asking?
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Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.