It’s not Dr. Doolittle who talks to the animals


Is there no kind of border, post code or demarcation point for where dogs can crap without the owner having to pick it up? At what point do you say to yourself when bending down wearing a cheap smelling pooh bag as a glove “What am I doing this for? I’m nearly a time zone away from the nearest village.” I always clear up in town after my dogs have answered the call of nature (cats seem to get away scot free though). If I see people let their dogs foul a footpath or park, I march up to them and hand them my own dogs pooh in a bag saying, “I think you forgot this.” They usually are quite shocked, then embarrassed, yet accept the bag. A small victory but quite satisfying. The other day I took my two pugs out to the country. They are essentially town dogs, as metrosexual as David Beckham or P.Diddy. They think mud is what you put on your face whilst having a ‘manny/peddy’, the TV remote is for chewing not sharing and strenuous exercise is running in from the garden to eat their lunch in the kitchen. However I convinced them to go for a walk with my brother-in-law’s labrador way out in the wilds last year. As soon as the big dog got into the forest, it answered the age-old question about what a bear does in the woods. The labrador had a sh*t. After a moment he casually carried on with his walk. My two pugs started barking and ran after the labrador, twitching their noses at him. They then shot me a look. “Hey, buddy. Watch this. Each time we have a crap that idiot comes up with a bag and scoops it up.” The lab stopped, a foreleg lifted in mid-air. “You gotta’ be kidding, ” he said, raising his ears and giving me a furtive glance. My two pugs immediately squatted down and in perfect unison like a pair of synchronised swimmers did their business. I calmly walked by leaving their gift to nature in the grass, relieved at one advantage of being way out in the country. The look of shock on my dogs was palpable. “What the f…? He always picks it up, ” they pleaded looking at the lab who had been watching the non-show. “Lying Townies, ” replied the labrador and with a snort ran off. We may not talk to the animals but they sure talk to each other. And they try and talk to us.

...and another thing

Much as I am tempted to say to some of the idiots I have worked with “and were you the first member of your family to be born in captivity?” I have always been happy in the company of real animals, but preferring something with a modicum of intelligence. Even if my own dogs have a brain the size of a satsuma there is a feeling of communication and understanding that I might find missing from a gerbil, goldfish or a gecko. No matter, each to his own.

People who can relate to animals are like those who like chocolate and alcohol. Maybe a little self-indulgent but fun to be around. Far better than those people who have stuffed dead animal head’s on their walls. “But they are so beautiful,” they cry. My wife and my mother-in-law are beautiful, but I just have pictures of them.

Some protest that pets are:

a) Disruptive,
b) Noisy,
c) Keep them awake,
d) Crap in the wrong places
e) Need constant care and attention….

but these are nearly always city couples with young children. Irony is lost on them.

At least animals don’t become angst ridden teen-agers, get arrested for dancing naked in Trafalgar Square fountains, or borrow the car and return it with an empty fuel tank but a passenger glove-box full of parking tickets.

Yeah pets can be picky. They nearly always choose to cuddle up to people with allergies and take exception to people in uniform. However your domestic animal’s love is not a complex deal; their heart for your food and shelter. My dogs take a pretty visceral interest in food. I always show the pugs the tin I’m opening for them so they can read the label.

“Hmm let me see Nature’s Bounce. Today’s Gourmet Canine Cuisine…. Contains moist cuts of kangaroo…, chunks of donkey hoof and penguin flippers… no artificial flavouring…, no msg…….Yeah that’s fine Mark. Maybe a little Merlot with that….?”

They hoover it all up in a nano-second. How dogs don’t need Gaviscon is a miracle of nature but at least I always get a glance of thanks for the food. And that’s the whole point. Food for love. They say a cockroach would survive a nuclear explosion but let me tell you any house pet would peg it pretty quick. The idea my dogs would thrive in a dystopian world and forage for food is as likely as a tap dancing oyster. They need humans, the link with their hunting past as remote as mine from a caveman’s.

If you really want to understand the language of an animal’s unrequited love, maybe just shut your wife and dog in the trunk (boot) of your car on a hot afternoon? When you open it after a few hours, note which one is happy to see you. Though I suspect both will have something to say.

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  1. Bec tolley says:

    LOL… Can so relate … Thanks

  2. Bec tolley says:

    LOL … Can sooo relate to your dog stories.. V amusing .. Thanks

  3. Peter says:

    My ex wife was a dog lover and was always off for walks clutching plastic gloves and other devices. It’s one of the reasons that she is my ex wife !!

  4. Winston says:

    Let us know how it goes when you move from theory to practicum on the whole dog/wife/trunk thing. I have a prediction that I am quite comfortable with.

  5. Theresa Wright says:

    Ah Bro! Those beloved moments with Lab and Pugs in the woods. And don’t forget the time the Lab tried to teach the pugs that they could jump the stream and what fun it was splashing in muddy water? But both Pugs had to be carried over in the end. I once, and only once, took The Laid Back Lab to London. He was horrified by Townie manners, all that barking and lead straining in the all-too-small park areas (he thought Cadogan Gardens was a mini garden Why on earth did he have to stay on the lead, an insult to a chap who always walked to heel, when requested) with no fresh smells and all those townies stressing at him all the time. Gave him the shivers and he never came back to London. And the only time we ever used a poo bag was on your front door mat. But that’s another story……..

  6. Tony Ritz says:

    Amazingly accurate. Tears of both joy and sorrow.
    Thank you

  7. Weronika says:

    This is so true! And funny at the same time. Love it x

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