The puppy episode is also significant because it exposes Tom's elitism and arrogance. During Myrtle's exchange with the dog seller, Tom frequently interposes with his own self-absorbed comments. For example, when the dog seller presents what he considers a police dog to Myrtle, Tom proclaims, "That's no police dog." In reality, Airedale terriers were the first police dogs in England and Belgium. They were also used as messenger dogs during the First World War.
Because of Tom's obvious wealth and status, the dog seller is intimidated into agreeing with his assessment. Later, when Myrtle inquires about the sex of the dog, Tom invalidates the dog seller's answer. He insists that the Airedale is female even after the dog seller says otherwise. The puppy episode highlights Tom's hubris and his contempt for anyone he considers his social inferior. In fact, he treats Myrtle much the same way he would a dog or an animal.
When Myrtle insists upon mentioning Daisy's name, Tom breaks her nose with his open hand. Shocked, bleeding, and in pain, Myrtle wails like a wounded animal. Ominously, the text says nothing about an apology from Tom. Because Tom considers Myrtle socially inferior to him and Daisy, he becomes irate when Myrtle challenges him. To Tom, Myrtle is merely his mistress and a dispensable one at that. In his mind, Myrtle is not privileged to speak Daisy's name at any time.
The puppy episode is significant because it clearly exposes Tom's arrogant and elitist attitudes.