The Scottie, Jock, from “Lady and the Tramp” was the first dog I ever saw in a sweater. He was also a cartoon. And he could speak.

This is to say, I never imagined that people ACTUALLY dress up their dogs in itty-bitty sweaters.

And yet, it has recently come to my attention that dog owners spend upwards of $100 a pop on designer sweaters for their tiny, yelping canines. All so they can stuff the pups into $1,300 Louis Vuitton tote bags and go shopping in high-profile stores where they can buy more dog sweaters.

It’s crazy talk. Doggy style has taken on a whole new meaning, and it’s sweeping the nation.

But despite what these expensive gifts might suggest, I’m inclined to propose that man’s best friend is no longer Muffy the Chihuahua in the pink angora sweater, or any of Muffy’s distant relatives, for that matter. People are no longer swearing their loyalty to golden retrievers.

The new apple of everyone’s eye is the iPod. Man and iPod are joined at the hip, and with the capacity to store 10,000 songs and an addictive shuffle feature, who could ask for a better pal?

If pink can be the new black, why shouldn’t iPods be the new dog?

I can see it now:

Jane is out for a walk with her iPod mini when a young girl approaches.

“Oh! Your iPod is soooooo cute!” the girl shrieks. “Can I pet it?”

Just as the girl goes to pet the iPod, another owner and his iPod U2 special edition stroll by. The iPods get feisty. Jane flails her arms fretfully, ineffectively swatting at the iPods and crying, “Let go of her! Sir, control your iPod!” The man takes action.

“No! Down Bono! Leave that mini iPod alone!”

And so on.

Aside from human devotion, one thing that iPods and dogs have in common is their having generated a startling array of expensive accessories simply by existing. You think Tinkerbell asks Paris Hilton to dress her up in cashmere sweaters and diamond-studded collars? No way. Tinkerbell is the laughing stock of Hollywood’s dog population.

Likewise, our iPods aren’t begging to be engraved with signatures or yearning to have 75 different attachments stuffed down their throats daily. Some greater power of materialistic consumerism is driving us to torture our new best friends.

If you click on the accessories link at, you will find yourself in a cyber space thick with technological superfluity designed to pamper your precious iPod. There’s the Belkin Media Reader which allows you to transfer digital photographs to your iPod, or the Griffin iTalk Voice Recorder which lets you transform the iPod into a recording device, or the iPod remote in case you’re too lazy to reach into your pocket and turn down the volume.

I give it another two months before we’re paying hundreds of dollars for a special edition iPod bag to lug around all of this crap.

But at least accessories like these can mask their ridiculousness behind mild practicality and technological savvy. It’s products like the iPod mini neck lanyard, designed so you can “turn your iPod mini into a hands-free fashion accessory,” or the iPod mini arm band that have me baffled. I suppose the iPod arm band validates the need for an iPod remote, at least.

Then there is my favorite accessory. In the true spirit of producing stupid things like dog sweaters, Apple has realized that iPod owners have reached a stage of delirious adoration in which they will purchase iPod socks.

Socks! For an iPod!

Apple’s Web site sells these “socks” as follows: “Dress your iPod up in any one of six vibrant color socks (green, purple, grey, blue, orange and pink). This set of knit socks provides a stylish, fun and practical way to protect your iPod. Fits all iPods.”

Several key phrases contribute to the hilarity of this citation. First, there is the notion of “dressing up” one’s iPod. I now rest my case with the dog analogy.

Second, there is a definitive attempt to rationalize this product with the claim that these socks (and knit socks, at that!) are “practical.” How or why they are practical, I know not. Perhaps they are intended to keep our iPods warm in these nippy winter months.

Finally, regardless of their function, we can rest assured that these socks are one-size-fits-all. Whew! And I thought my iPod might be too fat to fit into them.

Last year, Duke University gave iPods to all incoming freshmen. I wonder if next year they’ll follow up with Blue Devil iPod socks?

As for me, I would trade a million iPods to have Dean Brodhead back in town, even if he did rub salt in our wounds by giving all those Southerners iPods. But then again, I haven’t latched onto the iPod craze quite yet — as if my sardonic tone hasn’t made that clear.

I guess you could say I’ve always considered myself a cat person.

Liz Kinsley knits for her electronic buddy, Andrew Smeall.