Is Your Dog a Butterface? This Guy Can Help
Just about everyone loves dogs, and if you don’t, you’re one of those “cats only” people who has trouble connecting with the human race. So it’s no surprise that dog owners around the world spend bazillions to ensure that their butt-sniffing buddies are happy, healthy, and looking good—including paying plastic surgeons to achieve their ideas of pooch perfection.
Brazilian veterinarian Edgard M. Brito is one of the world’s leading plastic surgeons for animals. He and his clients believe loving your pet means helping it look its best, and if that means surgically straightening ears, performing eye-widening lifts, replacing testicles, or smoothing out wrinkles, so be it. I wanted to know exactly what he does—and why—so I asked him.
VICE: What are the criteria for a dog to be considered good-looking?
Edgard M. Brito: Firstly, in my opinion, the attraction that humans have for dogs is natural. The beauty, symmetry, and hygiene [of the dogs] help make this relationship a perfect one.
If it’s such a perfect relationship, why do you think some dogs need cosmetic surgery?
For reconstruction and sometimes for corrections of anatomic defects and physical or functional abnormalities that can appear during an animal’s life.
What’s the most common defect you correct?
Damaged or inappropriately positioned ears.
Doesn’t that seem a bit shallow?
We aren’t painting dogs pink to match their owners’ nail polish. Our focus is on improving the animal’s quality of life and helping to achieve a perfect relationship between animal and owner.
Celebrity Dogs of America
Last weekend, I attended America’s Family Pet Expo in Costa Mesa, California, which attracts thousands of people for a host of reasons: they love pets, they volunteer with rescue organizations, or they’re interested in buying their cats some quality business cards. One of the biggest draws, though, was the celebrity pet event—a showcase of trained dogs and cats who act in popular TV shows.
Like normal, non-dog-dominated events, the expo had its own black market: shortly after I stepped into the long admission line with the rest of the non-celebrity pets and humans, I got approached by a sketchy, nervous-looking guy who mumbled at me, “You guys want to buy some passes?” Yes, this man was a Pet Expo scalper. I bought a pass.
Although I was primarily there for the celebrity pets, there was no shortage of other entertainment. While walking through the expo, I watched several rounds of dachshund racing, pet an 18-pound rabbit, and spotted more than a few dogs who were better dressed than I was.
The Vet Who Wants to Legalize Medical Marijuana for Dogs
Now that it’s possible to legally buy and smoke marijuana in many parts of the US, it’s safe to say that weed and its by-products will be ingested freely throughout the country in the next decade. But have you ever shotgunned a blunt into your dog’s face? If you have, you’re an asshole and should never do it again. But that doesn’t mean your pooch doesn’t like to get high, especially if it’s sick. Veterinarian Doug Kramer is among a small number of experts who believe THC could help canines cope with debilitating and chronic conditions just like it helps humans. I called Dr. Kramer to see how his crusade was going.
VICE: How did you first think to treat sick pups with pot?
Dr. Kramer: A client first brought it to my attention. She was a bit eccentric, but she was a very intelligent woman. She had a pet that was not responding well to any of the pain medications or the steroids that we were giving it, and she wanted to talk about getting medical marijuana. The other vets at the practice were pretty dismissive, but she saw that I was willing to listen.
I read somewhere that at some point your dog, Nikita, was diagnosed with untreatable cancer. You had tried pretty much everything, right?
She had gone through all of the traditional pain medications, even steroids. When it became clear that she was nearing the end, that’s when she had nothing to lose, as long as it didn’t hurt her. At the first dosage, she was up and around. I didn’t cure her. It was just a question of increasing her quality of life and putting off inevitably euthanizing her.
BEASTS OF BURDEN - PART 1
Searching for Illicit Animal-Fighting Rings in Kabul
VICE correspondent Gelareh Kiazand travels to Kabul in search of illicit gambling rings where men bet on quail fights, buzkashi (it’s like polo, but with a headless goat), and dog fights. But first she has to find Dardar, the only figure in Kabul’s gambling world who can get our crew into the betting circle.
Kate Carraway’s Obseshes
In the hierarchy of meat, chicken dekes in and out of position in this counterintuitive and culturally unresolved way. Like, everyone wants to give you chicken in everything all the time; it is the basis for every dumb meal at a restaurant; it is what you are supposed to know how to make, I guess, but chicken is also the grossest and full of gristly knobs and the skin and what I think of as pinkish diseaseyness. How is it that on the road from queasy vegetarian to blood, chicken is so close to the beginning? I feel like a rare steak is easier to make sense of than a fucking leg of something.
SELF-CARE / SELF-CRUELTY:
I wrote a thing about “self-care” for a magazine and then started doing it all the time. (My version is refusing to listen to my friends talk about their crushes unless they are in a relationship or life context that supports having crushes, and also I now refuse to come within 20 feet of boys who are hunkered down at Fort Asshole even if it’s fun there.) It felt amazing when I was doing self-care “at” people, removing myself, creating boundaries, and thinking of a less corny way to be like “I’m creating boundaries,” and stuff like that.
Unfortunately, a lot of the doing of self-care “at” yourself can bend backward like a summer-time backyard gymnastics performance and turn into the most vicious kind of self-hatred, which, in action, I’m calling “self-cruelty.” An example: My problem with self-care is feeling as though I don’t, in a macro sense, actually deserve it, because my profession and workday is already devoted to thinking about myself and my ideas and my feelings, and the closest I come to having any limitations on my workday freedom is, like, too many text messages, or planning my coffee schedule poorly, or how starfish formation feels better than sitting up, even though in a micro work sense I experience a lot of total fucking bullshit. So being all “Unnnnngh” about work and being like “Now I will ‘self-care’ and think about sunsets” becomes this straight, dirt road lined with mean witches that leads to exponential, counterproductive self-cruelty. Working at home makes you so weird.
Why do guys make plans within two texts and a couple of hours and girls make plans with 30 emails and several weeks and two cancellations? Boys are like this, and girls are like this. Boys are dogs, and girls are cats.
So, one Friday after a couple of Bia Hanois (beers), my American friend and I set off in search of canine cuisine. The search didn’t take long. Within a couple of minutes, we were being led to the side of a central Hoan Kiem restaurant, where we found a live dog laid out on the table.
At least I thought it was still alive.
It was only as I neared the head that I realized something was amiss. As in missing. Half of its rib cage was missing. Out sprung an animated chef, dancing some kind of crazed knife dance with jazz hands. Evading this guy and working our way round to the head, I was amazed to see that all its teeth were present and it still looked lifelike—just with a slightly darker coat. I later discovered this is because there isn’t any preparation or oven basting. The dogs are just cooked whole with a blowtorch.
—I Ate a Dog in Hanoi - Continue
Your Dog Is Full of Dirty Diseases
Illustration by Mimi Leung
Recent research has shown that sharing an ice cream cone with your dog or letting your cat nap on your face isn’t just unhygienic, it could kill you, shit-for-brains, so cut it out. A study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases in November reported that zoonotic infections—diseases transmitted between animals and humans—are on the rise, and some will make you so sick death will be almost certain.
These sorts of ailments are spread by parasites, fungi, bacteria, and viruses that originate not from pigeons, rats, and other varmint scum, but from within the warm bodies of our beloved household pets. According to Michael Day, lead author of the report and a professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Bristol, “as dogs and cats have moved from the barn to the bedroom, the potential for disease spreading to humans increases.” Michael predicts that the next global health threat could be a pet-borne zoonotic superbug.
I Don’t ‘Get’ Instagram
Hey, you know what’s not actually a new thing and that people can all stop going crazy about? Having a phone on your camera. I mean, my phone cost £11.99 and it’s got a fucking camera on it. Getting excited about having a camera on your phone is a bit like getting excited about having a takeaway coffee or playing a song off your laptop. It ain’t no thing.
Still, half the adverts I see on TV are for cameras and phones with cameras on them. There’s usually a smiling mum photographing her snowboarding child in the ultra zoom and capturing their soul in a Twitpic forever, and we’re all being told we should be doing this. We’re told that life is passing us by and that if we don’t take pictures of every banal moment in our lives – like Guy Pearce in Memento – these moments will be lost to us forever. It’s like we’re being told not to trust our own memories.
We’re not just being encouraged to be the official club photographers of our own existences, either – we’re also being told that we should be documenting every meal as if we were preparing for a retrospective at the Saatchi gallery. This idea finds its epitome and is perpetuated most fervently by something called Instagram. You might have heard of it.
I don’t know what it was about the turn of the century – maybe we all got carried away and thought we were the “chosen ones” because our lives spanned two different millennia? – but something in the atmosphere at that time seemed to make us fall in love with ourselves. Our inflated sense of self-esteem is probably why we were complacent enough to allow Travis and jeans that looked like tents to pass as youth culture and why we all bought into the myth that there was an artist in residence within all of us. No longer did we have to be constructive members of society to survive its wilderness, we could all make a living designing logos for juice bars and running our own coffee shops/galleries/grime labels. Don’t have the requisite money, talent, intelligence or motivation to do that? It’s cool, just get a bank loan or win a competition, or something – we got you, B.
Think I’m generalising? Well, in 2001, I rode my micro scooter into school one day to be told by my art teacher that I’d been commissioned by the council to design a mural for a local underpass. This confused me, partly because I was 12 and partly because I was old enough to realise that I was a shitty artist. I declined, went on to achieve a G-grade at GCSE, killed my art teacher’s dream that I had my own suburban version of Guernicaburied within me and spent the rest of my adolescence telling posh girls that I wasn’t appreciated by the heathens at the exam board and that Van Gogh never sold a painting either.
In the cold light of the dole queue, most of us now realise that this was a complete crock of shit, and it’s probably the reason why anyone under the age of 30 is an insufferable bastard with a sense of entitlement equal to that of an exiled Nepalese prince (myself included). The age of Blair begat the culture of rampant self-obsession and bullshit aspiration that brought us Olly Riley and Emmanuel Frimpong rather than the next Issac Newton.
Then there was Banksy, who proved that all you really needed to make it as an artist was a series of ill-informed, left of centre, political metaphors and a rudimentrary understanding of graphic design to get Alan Yentob and Alain De Botton calling you “The Shoreditch Goya” or some shit.
Of course, this has been going on for a while and you only need to go to any South London art college’s graduate private view to see that the vast majority of modern creatives should’ve just taken that job at Snappy Snaps. Recently, though, this ludicrous idea that anybody can be a doyenne of self-expression has found its cruddy conclusion in the unlikely guise of a free smartphone app.