Affective support and antidote to loneliness, after a year of restrictions and lockdowns, the bond between us and dogs has been further strengthened. And the business that revolves around this relationship grows, also thanks to design

Effective members of the family, company as silent as it is tangible – irreplaceable , neighbors at desks in smart working and furtive and/or affective appearances during calls, pets have come to the fore for their constant presence and for their reassuring power: comforting remedies against the small and large daily anxieties triggered by a year of restrictions. The beneficial effect of the company of dogs on our psychophysical health was universally recognized well before the pandemic, the lockdown and the (unique) walks with them only made it more evident.

In recent months there has been talk to the point of exhaustion about how much our living spaces and our lives have changed, but little has been discussed about possible new presences to animate our spaces, but above all our lives. Loneliness has in fact led many people to consider the hypothesis of adopting an animal and smart working has made the idea more feasible, and therefore concrete.

According to the Coop 2020 report, 3.5 million Italians bought a pet during the lockdown or immediately afterwards and 4.3 million plan to do so in the near future. And it is a boom in adoptions. In 2020, the ENPA - National Animal Protection Body said, 8100 dogs and 9500 cats found a family, with an increase of over 15% compared to 2019, for a total of 17,600 pets. In short, the Italian social scenario is increasingly dog friendly, with 28% of homes hosting at least one dog.

Dog-mobile, dog house, dog fashion: the pet business boom

Thanks to the (further) consolidated relationship between dogs and owners during restrictions and lockdowns, the pet business has exploded in the last year: even in Italy veterinarians, kibble shops and dog sitters have recorded an increase in requests and services, more and more smart, often at home. And the luxury pet brands decline their now all-inclusive offer.

Like that of Poldo Dog Couture, which every season makes its know-how available to create capsule collections of clothing and accessories for dogs with important fashion brands (including Moncler and Missoni) and even luxury hotels, focusing on own creations to satisfy the growing trend of Pet Hospitality, the reception of pets and their owners in hotels. But to get there, in hotels, you need to ensure maximum comfort and safety for your four-legged friend: here is the travel kit for dogs created in collaboration with Mini. And the dog house could not be missing, made with sustainable wood from Rubner Haus.

Watch also at the Poldo Haus wooden kennels

Immortalized as works of art

The dog is the most represented animal in the history of art. The depiction of man's best friend has very ancient origins: we can already find it in primitive rock paintings. Crouched  faithful  next to their masters or protagonists at the center of the scene, the figure of the dog as a life partner, a symbol of the interiority shared with its master, never fails.

With the elegant black and white project of street photography La città dei cani (The city of dogs), Antonio Vezzari analyzes the traits of this special relationship, made up of sharing, similarity and empathy. The photographer tells many small stories of dogs met by chance on the street or in a bar. And he does it by mixing sweetness, melancholy, but also wonder and irony. The subjects are the dogs but at the same time so are the passers-by who become the involuntary protagonists of a portrait capable of reflecting a cross-section of the community.

Nutritional and psychophysical well-being, even olfactory

Se pensiamo che per tutti il 2020 sia stato un anno difficile, ci sbagliamo. I nostri cani lo ricorderanno come un anno speciale, all’insegna delle coccole extra,  maggior tempo trascorso insieme e più attenzione all’alimentazione. È quanto emerge dai risultati di una ricerca commissionata da Country Farms, brand di cibo per cani di qualità preparato con ingredienti naturali. Lo studio ha evidenziato come per i nostri amici a quattro zampe il lockdown sia stata l’occasione per rafforzare il legame con i proprietari e nutrirsi in maniera più curata e naturale, complice l’esigenza dei proprietari di adottare uno stile di vita più attento alla salute, loro e di tutti i membri della famiglia.

And if the lockdown has allowed the dogs to fully enjoy the company of the whole family, it has imposed some limitations on them, among them the impossibility of taking long walks in the green, their favorite activity (88%), immediately after the pampering (92%) and eating (90%). The owners agree that spending time in a natural environment can have important positive effects on the mental and physical well-being of their pet. But also on them (we add). More than 50% agree that their dog is happy when he is free to run in the green and can explore nature with his own nose (82%), followed by running and playing, with his own human or with other dogs.

The recipe for dog happiness? A human smart worker in a countryside scented house. Here is what emerges from the research: 62% of dogs want their owner to work from home and 43% would like to smell the smell of cut grass every day. If for the first option, increasingly widespread and destined to last over time, Country Farms has no direct influence, for the second it does. In fact, he created Gocce di Campagna, the first room perfumer chosen by dogs who, as expert perfume noses, smelled eight cards impregnated with the (strong) smells characteristic of the countryside. For the record, cut grass, lavender, manure and muddy shoes were the most popular. Chosen by dogs and made for dogs, it is a pilot project, not intended for sale, which highlights the benefits of nature on dogs, both from a psychological point of view, promoting serenity and balance, and physical, helping them to stay in shape.

And if new restrictions do not allow trips out of town and walks in the countryside, United Pets  proposes the Aroma Stories. Born from an idea of designer Rumiko Takeda, the soft toys release a therapeutic aroma with 100% essential oils that help pets relieve stress and calm down while playing.

If the nervousness, or even just tiredness, is ours, the start-up Dog Heroe offers a very convenient  and healthy – home delivery service: high quality, fresh and natural pet food, based on personalized food plans, studied with veterinarians who are experts in nutrition.

Ingenious constructions for the latest fashion selfies

A fully robotic dog selfie booth. Price for the photo? A paw. Here is the mechanical marvel created by the inventor and genius of robotics Simone Giertz for her beloved puppy Scraps with the Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor set which, in addition to the legendary bricks, includes elements, sensors and motors that power the ingenious and super trendy construction . By pressing the paw on a panel placed on the floor of the booth, the dog activates a camera ready to quickly take a picture and at the same time is rewarded with a biscuit. Ready to say cheeseeeee? Photos of fashion dog shoots follow...

Watch also Architecture for Dogs, the project dedicated to design kennels

Fidelity, guard and support. Personal but also social

Always protagonists of films for adults and children, at the center of stories of training and friendship, joyful but sometimes tearful (who doesn't cry when the dog dies? “Everyone but not the dog!”), Dogs are also at the center of Lacerate video work signed by the artist Janis Rafa, part of Mascarilla 19. Codes of Domestic Violence, project of Fondazione In Between Art Film aimed at raising awareness on the issue of the worsening of domestic violence against women as a result of the containment measures of the pandemic.

The film consists of a series of mise-en-scène in which the domestic environment is dominated by a pack of hunting dogs that move nervously attacking furniture and objects. The interior of the house is in fact a mental space, violated and torn apart like a body that has suffered violence. The artist imagines that the dogs, perhaps owned by the couple and therefore witnesses to the abuses suffered over the years, have returned as ghosts from the past. Historically symbols of fidelity to her master, in the video the dogs rebel becoming guardians of the woman, to support and protect her in the process of her liberation from her persecutor. What is unleashed is therefore the irrational and animalistic part of the unconscious, which nevertheless allows the woman to get back in control of her choices, and to save herself.

Accessorized but above all coordinated

The proposals for dogs are increasingly varied and performing, suitable for facing any situation, inside and outside the home. From the sartorial workmanship, even sustainable, the accessories for quadrupeds can now be combined, strictly coordinated, with those of their humans. From the classic collars and leashes to kennels, cushions, bowls, up to bags for every use and to coverings of every type and for every need: the offer is increasingly wide, but above all in matching. The bracelet with the same decoration as the shoulder strap of the bag that becomes a leash or the key ring of the same bib pattern. Coats, raincoats, sweatshirts and dogwear down jackets, then, are then increasingly similar, from a stylistic but also functional point of view, to outerwear and sportswear ones.

Like Morso, which makes accessories for dogs (but also humans) equipped with ultra-safe carabiners inspired by the world of mountaineering, or Impronta Tessile, the enterprising start-up, born in the year in which the pandemic broke out, which thanks to the skills acquired by the (already) founders of Impresa Tessile in the processing of technical fabrics for outerwear, it offers eco-friendly and super trendy fashion collections for dogs.

Watch also the range of accessories proposed by 2.8 design for dog

Watch also the coordinated dog-owner accessories proposed by Isi & Friends

Reassuring rejects

Of fur or cloth, real or stuffed animals, dogs and other animals (domestic or not) inhabit our spaces, even in the form of works of art. Barbara Franc assembles scraps of fabrics and waste materials  and a lot of imagination  to make his Shaggy Dogs and other fabric creatures. “I love working with vintage fabrics” explains the British sculptor who also works other materials such as wire weaving and soda cans. “I draw on a wide range of discarded and recycled materials to shape sculptural but dynamic animal shapes. My Shaggy Dogs are inspired by the slender figure of my long-legged lurcher dog, which he has posed as a model for me many times. Often, however, customers ask me to reproduce the features of their animal and, in addition to photography, they also send me fabrics, clothes, accessories and personal items to incorporate”.

A space for memory

Inspired by the Egyptian canopes, Pet Memories are cinerary urns for animals. Designed by Kicca D’Ercole, make the indefinable, sometimes mysterious, always incredibly deep bond between man and animal (even more) evident and tangible. At home, on a balcony, in the garden, they shape a small place of memory: they recognize dignity in those who have been with us every day – without reservations –  and become a corner for us humans to remember them.

An object that gives light, even if it will never be of the same intensity and the same heat as that with which they illuminate  for too short a time  our lives.