In a country where fluffy white dogs on leashes are becoming a common sight, it can sometimes be easy to forget that Korea has only recently started to see dogs and cats as pets. By featuring ‘dog prams’ [Ed: strollers, buggies, pushchairs – there’s basically a dog where a baby should be] as the latest symbol of a growing class of pet owners, this article in the Donga Ilbo attracted strong negative reactions from Koreans who think the attention to dogs and tolerance for them in public has gone too far.
The protests and the rapid changes in Korean pet ownership can best be summarized in this comment by netizen ‘터미네이터’:
Now there are dog pushchairs??? Ten years ago we caught dogs to cook up under the bridge in our neighborhood and put in bowls of fortifying stew. Now they are putting our food in pushchairs and pushing it around??
As the dog stroller marketing prominently featured young women, many of the negative reactions echoed the attitude seen in ‘Ladygates’.
Article from Donga Ilbo:
Pet Owners now Number 10 million… shopping with a ‘dog pram’
Office worker Seo Hye-rim has had her dachshund, Timber, for five years. Although she lives in the city of Gimpo, Ms. Seo makes the long journey every weekend to shop at the D-Cube Department Store in the district of Sindorim, Seoul. The reason for Ms. Seo’s visits are the pet pushchairs, only found in this particular department store, which allow her to enjoy her shopping with Timber by her side. “I lived in this neighborhood until two months ago, so now when I want to find a place to shop with my dog I come all the way back here. It’s my ‘shopping odyssey’ that allows me to meet with my friends who also own pets and have a meal together,” said Seo.
After opening in August of 2011, Daesung Industrial Corporation’s D-Cube Department Store became the first department store to offer pushchairs specifically for the use of pets, called ‘petcars’. D-Cube introduced the petcars as a form of customer outreach that would allow it to differentiate itself from other large department stores. Pet owners have responded strongly to the petcars, often referring to them as ‘pushchairs for dog mums’.
After experimenting with the petcars, department stores have discovered their ability to attract repeat customers and in recent weeks have been rolling them out as an official marketing strategy. Much like pushchairs for infants, pushchairs for dog mums have become another high class convenience. The pushchairs have front wheels capable of swiveling 360 degrees and footrests so that dogs can rest their paws comfortably. There is even a cup holder on the handle so that the owner may enjoy a pleasant shopping experience.
As the population of pet owners in South Korea is estimated to have recently passed 10 million, firms are introducing new pet-friendly marketing strategies. Regardless of the economic recession, the pet product sector has shown continuous growth and is now valued at over ₩4 trillion, ($3.7 billion USD).
On January 10th, the East Suwon branch of Homeplus unveiled the largest pet service department within a department store to date. The 550m² space, called ‘I Love Pet’, contains a veterinary hospital, pet hotel, grooming facility, and animal playground. The store offers two free hours in the playground to its customers. Homeplus reported that its pet equipment sales are increasing by 15-20% per year. Since starting in 2007, Homeplus brand veterinary hospitals have increased from twenty-six locations to fifty-three.
In November of 2010, E-Mart became the first large retailer to open a multi-use store for pets when it unveiled ‘Molly’s Pet Shop’, which have since increased to seventeen locations. In 2013 alone, E-Mart is planning to add another ten pet shops.
Pet Garden, a specialty pet supply retailer owned by Lotte Mart which first opened a store in Songpa last March, now operates seven stores and is considering adding ten more. Seeing the rise in single-person households as a sign that cats, which demand less constant care, will become more popular, Pet Garden has made playgrounds in its stores designed specifically for cats. In order to meet the needs of customers buying clothing for their pets, Pet Garden also has ‘Fitting Rooms’ outfitted with scales and measuring tapes.
Comments from Daum:
I understand how people like and love dogs… but there are tons of children out there who aren’t even being treated as well as these animals..Even bringing them when you go shopping and making a big deal out of it?…How could you want to do things like that when you think about all of the poor children out there..
How revolting. I’ll have to avoid that store in the future. Considering how often there are dog bite incidents, we need to change our minds about small dogs not attacking people. So many people who only think about how cute their dogs are and have absolutely no regard for others. Please pick up your dog’s waste.
So the world really has gone to the dogs..
Why would they bring dogs to a department store? They aren’t better than dogs.
I am a dog owner myself, but that is just too much…
ke ke, these people would put their dog in a wheelchair and push her around but they wouldn’t do the same for their old mothers
This department store has good intentions but have they considered the laws concerning something like this? I guess the chairman or owner loves dogs too much!!! It is illegal to bring dogs into a public place, particularly one with large numbers of people…this should be even more clear in a department store given that they sell groceries and have restaurants in there!!! When I see people bringing dogs into supermarkets it’s like a dog walking a dog on a leash… come to your senses,,,,
I like animals, but this is a little too much…putting a dog on a pedestal..it seems like the world is going crazy.
A little while ago there was a story of some bitch who killed herself because her dog got run over, as they say, there’s all kinds of crazy bullshit going on these days [pun on word for ‘dog’]
This is just another example of the kind of daughter-in-law who would make sure to feed her dogs but wouldn’t feed her parents-in-law, the kind of daughter who would spend money on her dogs but never spare a dime for her parents, sob over a dead dog but not shed a tear for deceased parents. Can we consider such people who ignore human beings in sad situations and save their compassion for abandoned cats and dogs to be humans themselves, or are they dogs?
I get angry reading this article after reading news about children dying from abuse…
It is wrong and illegal to treat pets cruelly… but that is too much. Just like pushing shopping carts around. -_-;;;; all kinds of crazy bullshit going on these days.
There are three kinds of people for whom it is impossible to change their minds: Protestant zealots, New Frontier (Saenuri) Party supporters, and dog lovers. The best solution is to quarantine them from the normal population before they infect us all.
I think a dog pushchair is a really good idea. Even when there is a leash on a dog many people can be afraid of them. If you put them in a pushchair, then the owner and the people around them can be at ease.
Now there are dog pushchairs??? Ten years ago we caught dogs to cook up under the bridge in our neighborhood and put in bowls of fortifying stew. Now they are putting our food in pushchairs and walking it around??
They’re bringing dogs into a department store? What about the fur flying around the place? These people may have no problem eating from the same plate as their dogs but what about the undetectable hairs that land on clothing and in food? They get rid of human customers in order to have pets shopping in their stores?
Doesn’t seem too bad to me… ke ke
I live with many pets. However, I think putting them in pushchairs and making a big deal out of them is unsavory. Rather than spending money on things like that, you clueless people, make sure you pick up after your dog when you take them on walks, bringing along a plastic bag and tissues. On multiple occasions I have seen people who make sure to bring water bottles for their pets when they take them on walks, but after the animal squats and does its business, the owner just checks to make sure no one is watching and then just takes off.
It really is getting to be true that dogs are living better than people…
My dog needs a pushchair as it is getting older..I’m holding off on buying one because of how other people would stare at me…I don’t know why everyone cares when someone else does something.. ㅠㅠ