Animal accessories: slavery or gainful employment?

The other day I was sitting in a furniture showroom, waiting for the rep. to get me some pricing. I picked up the big fat catalog on her desk and flipped to the back: “Accessories.”

Gentle Readers, what I saw shocked me. Did you have any idea that animals throughout the world are being forced into servitude in the name of home accessories? I mean, they HAVE to be forced. No self-respecting creature would volunteer for this.

I know birds are everywhere right now, but should they really be offering you toilet paper?

Bird on branch toilet paper holder

And dogs – shouldn’t he have a bone in his mouth? Or a pheasant?

Puppy offering you toilet paper

Let me ask you this: after I accept the proffered toilet paper, am I expected to maintain eye contact as I put it to use? Or do I look away and pretend I’m not being watched? What’s the etiquette here?

Ah, I see: the monkey politely turns his back.

Bizarre monkey toilet paper holder

(He looks like he’s about to need some TP himself.)

Holy s&%t. Is this crocodile smoking?

Crocodile smoking a cigar and offering you some soap

The frogs have it the worst. They choke on your tape…

Frog tape dispenser

Keep your business cards close at hand, near your snacks…

Frog business card holder

And have your pen at the ready.

Frog pen holder

(See the crowns? These frogs were princes in their native land, probably.)

I think the look on this guy’s face says it all:

Sad frog holding soap

Clearly this is not a happy situation. I’m sure they get breaks sometimes,

Frog reading a book statuette accessory

Octopus wine holder

But probably not that often.

I don’t want to tell you what company this is, because some of their furniture is quite nice. But holy cow.

Wait, scratch that. I don’t even want to know what the cows are up to.

Annie Elliott – aka bossy color – is an interior decorator and design blogger in Washington, D.C. She has been quoted in publications from The New York Times to Real Simple and is considered an expert on color, residential space planning, and telling people what to do in the nicest way possible.


  1. says

    Goodness gracious!! Do you know what monkeys do– with their poo?
    And pray tell, at what establishment might one find such things?

  2. says

    This is so funny and those animals look so depressed. Really “brass animals” are needed to hold toilet paper? Who would buy this stuff?

  3. says

    thanks for the laugh, Annie, and for pointing out the ridiculousness of some so-called “accessories.” (why do we feel the need to “accessorize” toilet paper in the first place?)

    you are hilarious!!

  4. Aspen says

    Wow, there are people who would actually buy those things?!? Thanks for the hilarious post! Love your writing.

  5. says

    Thanks so much for the comments, everyone! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one taken aback! Kerry – I hesitate to reveal the source :) , but it’s a high-end furniture store. Shocking! Thanks again!

  6. flyingcarrot says

    Super strange. This reminds me of Victoriana fussiness. Absurd consumption without restraint. Maybe it’s the end of the world.

  7. says

    Just popping over from Colour Me Happy to see the fun. Though most of these are more than a bit much, I actually love the bird TP holder for some reason. I would love that in a pool house. I think that one is actually very nicely done. I guess I am in the minority on this, though, judging by the other comments!

  8. says

    Hilarious!!! Love it. I guess the manufacturers are banking on obsessive personalities. Must admit, while it was snowing all day here in Maine, I took a dog statue and plopped him right in the middle of my dining table. Since he belongs in the garden, he made me think of Spring! I hope hasn’t lost too much do his dignity.

  9. says

    Ellen, I’m so glad you commented! It’s always great to hear from people w/ different opinions. There’s usually more than one right answer to every design challenge – context is everything!

  10. says

    I still cannot decide if this is a weird but funny sense of humor or a reason for moral considerations. After all, no REAL dogs and frogs are being humiliated; and is a very ‘normal’ dog training a kind of slavery or not? Should a dog be allowed to chew his master’s shoes into something that looks like a prey or be treated as a ‘slave’ in this case? Or should we remember that a brass frog doesn’t mind holding a writing pen? The humiliation takes place in our heads — if it does at all.

  11. ginger says

    I *love* these! I especially adore the frog soap dish holder….. The poor prince; he’s been seriously demoted, and he’s not happy about it! That’s what you get for raiding daddy’s liquor cabinet you naughty frog! So humiliating! haha

    I’m from Australia. We have Cane Toads here, which are awful pests; everyone hates them! They are often found in souvenir shops holding tiny fishing rods or cans of beer…. Not bronzed, just taxidermied. They’re awful. these are much better.

    So to answer the question, ‘who would buy these things?’ Me, probably. I love things that try to clamber over to the dark side of the kitsch fence….

    Found your blog via apartment therapy….Love your yellow room! Pink and yellow is such a superb colour combo. :) I want to come live at your place! How could you not be happy there? :)

  12. says

    Hello, Ginger! Thanks for the lovely note – those toads sound horrible! I’ll take bronze any day. I’ve had several people tell me privately that they actually like the TP holder, or the card holder, and does that make them a tacky person? Of course not. Context is everything.

    Thanks also for the kind words about my LR. I AM happy there – you hit the nail on the head! Thanks again for writing.

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