I grew up with several dogs, in an era when dogs were bottom of the pack and people came first. The dogs knew their place, which was generally outside in the backyard or paddock doing dog things - running about, digging holes, sniffing other dogs' butts and lying in the shade farting, snoring and dreaming about running about in paddocks.

In recent years, in Hong Kong, we seem to have messed with this order of things. It's as though we're living in a version of Planet of the Apes where the apes have been replaced by dogs.

At a friend's birthday lunch a few weeks back I could barely hear myself think. No one was talking much, but the dogs perched on diners' laps at the next table were howling up a storm. I counted 10 schnauzers, each immaculately trimmed and sporting a jaunty, red sequined bow tie, although still giving off a waft of eau de canine.

These German dogs, whose forebears were bred to kill rats and under whose noses sat fancy dog-food cupcakes, were clearly prized and loved beyond measure.

I overheard a father at our table drolly say to his teenage boy: "Sorry son, that is a way bigger party than I've ever had for you. Well, you never lick my toes or anything."

My son chimed in with, "Shall we order the German shepherd's pie?"

In the past few years, we've seen prams for "walking" dogs, dog goggles (doggles) for swimming, dog hair dye and dog designer clothes aplenty. I hear there is even a dog hotel being built so that owners and pets can take minibreaks together.

I wish they'd give me a break.