by Sherezzah Bint al Waha
Question: what do these two stuffed camel toys, Kermel (left) and the other unnamed guy at bottom right, have in common? Partial answer: They were both purchased fairly recently as "new" stuffed animals. Now, stuffed camels are fairly hard to come by. It's very easy to find bears, cats, dogs, even frogs. But camels? They're few and far between.
So, the good news is, we found these. However, these camels have something else in common--they were both created to be doggie toys, complete with squeakers. If we extrapolate from an instance of two here, we can infer that most camel toys being sold today are made for dogs to chew on. What is it with that? What is it about camels that makes them especially appropriate candidates to be doggie chew toys? I don't think camels are natural prey of dogs in the wild. I would think that maybe cats, or mailmen, would be better choices for dogs to chew on. Why camels?
Could it be because camels are associated with the Middle East, and there are a lot of negative feelings toward many things Middle Eastern today? Do people like the idea of good ol' American dogs tearing apart symbols of the Middle East? The sinister implications are alarming.
It may seem like a minor issue, but the repercussions could be significant. So I say, don't fall victim to this bit of stereotyping. Let's all treat camels with a little more respect. Don't let your dogs chew on camels for fun. If you see camels as doggie toys in the store, go ahead and buy them... but then keep them for yourself. Save them from the risk of being given to someone else's dog. Join me in the crusade to "Save the Camels!"