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As the social climate shifts to accept visible piercings and tattooing more readily across the board, more pet owners and pet caretakers than ever are structuring an alternative lifestyle around their furry friends. Here we explore some of the coolest and most interesting pet parents and veterinarians and their love of all things fuzzy-centric.

For most of us when we think about bikers, our mind naturally goes to piercings, leathers, tattoos, but hardly ever to ears and tails. But there’s one troop of devoted pet owners who are aiming to change that fact. The group calls their four legged road companions “motorcycle dogs,” or “biker dogs,” and as the name implies, they take their animals with them when they go for a ride. One of the original biker dogs was named Bandit, and when he and his owner Mark hit the open road, the whole world seemed to take notice. Contrary to the stigma attached to the biker lifestyle, Mark and Bandit were big on lending a helping hand (or paw) to their community. In fact, Bandit, who passed away in 2008, and Mark’s new riding companion, Chopper the Biker Dog, are both known to have visited sick children in the hospital, participated in many charity events, and helped raise money for various organizations including those that assist recovering war veterans and needy children. The biker dog phenomenon has spread like wild fire, and even spawned an entire line of pooch based roadster accessories.

Speaking of two things that we seldom think of as going together, how about veterinarians and tattoos?  More vets than ever are sporting noticeable body art, and many of those that aren’t are actually sporting unnoticeable body art.  Scrubs can hide a lot, especially if your veterinary practice has several younger staff members. In fact, Patty Khuly, a doctor of veterinary medicine, has even commented on her blog concerning the subject. When it comes up in conversation on other forums, many members of the veterinary field who have commented agree that at least one person they work with has visible body art, if not several people. Many positions in large animal and livestock care are less formal, and tattoos, colored hair, and occasionally even piercings are common there too.  Just ask the young assistant at the animal hospital you go to if they have any ink, and you might be surprised.

Although controversial, pet owners bringing their love of animals to work with them has begun to trend in the world of body modification too. Just look at all of the tattoo and piercing shop owners who are known to have cats and dogs hang around on the job.  Even during the first season of Entertainment TV’s hit show Miami Ink, a dog could be seen as a regular presence in the tattoo parlor. The pooch, named Bella, was constant companion to tattoo artist Ami James, and sparked huge controversy about the cleanliness of pets in the parlor versus the cool and comforting atmosphere that they create. Even in my own neighborhood, I can list a tattoo artist, an herbal healer, and a pierced and tattooed gas station owner among those whose pets I’ve grown to know and love while shopping around.

So for all of the other pierced and tattooed pet owners like me, I say show off your love of those furry family members. It’s time for the alternatively styled set to be seen as the animal loving, Humane Society helping, puppy dog eyes pushovers that some of us really are.

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