From my blog on The Kitchen Table at

When my wife recently got Molly - our puppy - a sweater. I - in my most loving and tactful way - questioned the need and the expense. I think I said something like "Have you lost your mind? A sweater for a dog??? Frankly, I thought it looked silly and was unnecessary.

She then proceeded to explain that unlike our other dog, Molly's short hair doesn't keep her warm when she goes out on some of our colder winter nights. After she got so cold that she shivered on a couple of her evening walks, the doggie sweater was purchased and presto - Molly is now nice and warm. There was an immediate benefit - Molly no longer resists going outside, and she's stopped leaving those special little presents on the carpet...hurrah!

The doggie sweater has a parallel for the fire service. How many of us set up our gear in a way that looks cool, but doesn't protect us the way it should? How many of us wear a pair of melted, opaque Bourkes because we think the OSHA-compliant goggles make us look geeky? How many of us don't wear flash hoods because we feel the need to use our ears as a meat thermometer? How many of us resist getting new gear issued because it doesn't look salty?

Get the right gear and wear it appropriately, even if you think it makes you look like you're wearing a doggie sweater. You'll get used to it. Molly did.

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Comment by Mick Mayers on February 2, 2009 at 9:56pm
I thought about getting a full-back tattoo of Our Lady on my back, but then she'd be the Bearded Lady.
Comment by BillySFCVFD on February 2, 2009 at 11:15am
Funny you mentioned those old swimsuits Ben. I used to live in Manhattan Beach CA where the historical society published a calendar with historic facts on the dates. There I read that it wasn't until 1932 that the city allowed men to go topless on the beach ( ladies still aren't allowed to). Mick, It didn't mention sweaters, maybe hairy guys could have gotten away with going topless on the beach back then. TCSS
Comment by Engineco913 on February 1, 2009 at 3:51pm
Hey Mick, we could always make your "sweater" a fashion statement. Try using the clippers to make the Superman Logo. What better fashion statement than that? :)
Comment by Ben Waller on February 1, 2009 at 3:42pm

You should see her when we put the sweater on - she does a little dance at the back door, because she know's it's time to go out. Molly also thinks she's a cat - she plays with our three constantly. Two of them actually like it. The other one is the Alpha kitty, and doesn't like playing with a cat with 80 times her mass that smells curiously like "dog".

Comment by Joe Stoltz on February 1, 2009 at 12:19pm
Chew toy, my foot... that dog is PRAYING to have someone take that sweater off right NOW. :o)

Our "dog" is actually a feline, and I like to say he's half Siamese and half Labrador given his all-black coloring and affinity for water. I could get him into a sweater, though I would be somewhat hypovolemic afterward. He has sharp claws and knows how to use 'em.

Now that I have that out of my system - great post, Ben.
Comment by Ben Waller on February 1, 2009 at 10:42am

If that's the case, we'll need a comeback of those 1890's Victorian full-body swimsuits.

Comment by Ben Waller on February 1, 2009 at 10:42am

Molly's sweater was a Christmas present, no college colors involved.
The photo was taken while she enjoyed her chew toy Christmas present while the rest of us celebrated our family Christmas together.

Comment by Will2745 on February 1, 2009 at 8:17am
our dog absolutely refuses to wear a sweater, collar or harness..put one on her and she will lay in one spot for days.
Comment by BillySFCVFD on January 31, 2009 at 10:07pm
My wife got a pink hoodie for our little doggie. On scenes I wear my full compliment of issued PPE but won't get caught walking that doggie while it wears that pink hoodie. Molly looks good in that red/white sweater. Are those college colors? TCSS
Comment by LadyChaplain on January 31, 2009 at 9:32pm
I have two mini-dachshunds and for extended trips outside or in the car during the winter they have fleece coats and knit sweaters which are appropriate for different temperature ranges. They also have a set of t-shirts for comical purposes... but yes, they do benefit greatly from their sweaters and coats during those subzero days we have in Upstate NY

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