Q: Several years ago, my mother bought me a winter coat with a detachable faux fur collar. I loved the coat, and wore it out until it became threadbare (I wore it mostly without the collar, as it wasn't very comfortable). As I was about to let it go, I looked at its fabric content. Much to my surprise, the collar was not made of faux fur. In fact, it was a full fledged fur. 

*Dog* fur.

I'm a bit horrified, but not sure what to do. I mean, from a sustainability perspective, I guess dogs are in a similar boat as cows. That said, I have a sweet puppy of my own who I love dearly and, well, the collar matches her coat far too closely for me not to see her on a belt buckle when I look at the collar . . .
So here is my conundrum. What should I do with the fur? I don't want to be near it, but tossing it doesn't feel right, either. I'd appreciate your advice!




Kimber (Speechless. But not actually. She is, after all, a Tillemann-Dick...): Wow. This is a doozy. It's no secret that I'm not exactly a dog lover. But, though I occasionally feign murderous intentions towards our own two little furballs, Cruella Deville I am not. And I find this whole thing deeply troubling. It's the kind of honest mistake I can see myself making -- the memory of which would haunt me for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do to make things better for the dog. So I say you protect yourself. Do what you can to appease your troubled mind. Give the little collar a proper burial, in a gold-spray-painted shoebox under a dogwood tree. Read some Rudyard Kipling and sing All Things Bright and Beautiful, before you thank it for service given and lay a few daisies on the fresh grave. And then sign yourself up for some therapy....

Charity (Couture Warrior): Aaaag! The joy and horror or cultural difference. If one thinks about this in an entirely rational way, we have crazy double standards. Kid skin gloves are fine, baby cow and piglets are delicacies as is eating, wearing and abusing any other number of adorable, sweet creatures. If you wear leather shoes, you should be at peace with a doggie collar. BUT ... if you do, PETA will use your old fur for anti-fur fashion shows (sounds a little scary) or donate them to homeless shelters.  And if anyone could really use a fur coat or collar, I think it's probably someone who is outside a LOT. 

Liberty (Voodoo Guru): Have you ever seen one of these? I’m not sure where why people buy them, but they were in most of the old church ladies homes growing up, and if my memory serves me correctly, Shiloh was gifted a couple of them on a least one occasion. So, here’s the idea. Since the swatch resembles your pooch so perfectly, what better way to honor her than by recreating your pet out of real pelt!

Your new toy—I’ll call her “Patches” or maybe “Scrappy”—can be used in a variety of ways. First, if away on travel, Scrappy can serve as a comforting reminder of your fuzzy pal back home. Second, you could try to work some voodoo magic, and employ it as a medium for teaching/disciplining/exercising your pooch. Puppy’s having a hard time socializing with other dogs? No problem! Just sit your pup-proxy down at the dog park and let the comradic energy flow through Scrappy to your bitchy-bitch at home and infuse her with positive communal energy. Or if the weather’s lousy and Fido needs a walk, simply drag Patches around the house on a string for a while and your pooch will be pooped in no time! Patches the puppy-proxy is sure to cure your fur conundrum!

But of course if she doesn’t, you can always donate the collar to a Goodwill or something. It will get the bad karma off your hands, and the purchaser of the secondhand-skin will be blissfully unaware of its slightly cringe-inducing nature.

Mercina (Empathetic): First, you should know that I understand, really quite deeply, what you're going through. When I was three, my grandparents gave me a beautiful little suede pinafore. It was so pretty, covered in hand appliqued hearts and embroidery. Well, I really loved the pinafore, until I learned what it was made of. One day I asked a certain zealous vegetarian sister *cough* Charity *cough* why my dress was so soft and learned it was because it was made of "dead cow." I don't think I ever recovered, and have been a vegetarian ever since....

I agree that throwing away the collar seems wrong. But I don't think you'll be able to stomach wearing it. Perhaps re-purposing it is a better plan? And maybe, because it's so cold right now, and because the thing matches your pup's fur so well, you could get creative? Dog sweater with dog fur collar! Is that so very wrong? Honestly, I don't know. This one is kind of morally dumbfounding for me. But if it keeps your doggy warm, maybe those puppies didn't lose their fur in vain? 

Glorianna (Dog Wear Dog): First of all, click here. It's sad that someone saw more in dear Spot's pelt than in his adorable antics and unyielding loyalty, but it happened. What you can do about it now is to honor Spot by using his former stuff to its fullest. If, as you said, the fur matches/coordinates with your own sweet pup-pup's coat, give it to her as an accessory. As illustrated to us by this adorable Petsmart ad -- as well as these ridiculous pictures -- lots of dogs don't mind an accessory or two, and maybe the spirit of the fur collar can live vicariously through your beloved, well-cared for doggy. As an added bonus, your dog will be really hardcore and intimidating if she regularly wears the fur of another dog like a trophy. Like, no other dogs will ever want to screw with her. And what more could someone ask for than a ton of posthumous street cred?