It’s fair to say that we’re not much of an animal family – the closest we’ve come to having pets is in the form of two cuddly toys called:
Who says kids have no imagination nowadays?
In particular, I have a bit of a problem with dogs. Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t dislike dogs completely and I’ve often conjured up a romantic vision of skipping through the woods on a warm summer’s day with my trusty canine companion bounding faithfully alongside me. As lovely as some dogs are though, I’m afraid that there are three reasons why I will probably never own one of my own:
1. Their unpredictability
When I was a lot younger, I was running down the street when a huge dog appeared from nowhere, leapt up like it had spring coils for feet and bit me on my bum. The dog came off worse on this occasion – I believe it needed a tetanus jab but after this traumatic incident, I vowed that the best way to avoid a repeat occurrence would be never to run anywhere…..ever again.
Just a couple of years back, I was minding my own business as I strolled up the street to visit my Mum and Dad, when this brown sausage-type dog scuttled up to me and started staring me out. I tried to ignore it and increased my speed to a brisk walk to get away and it soon disappeared. Moments later though it reappeared at my side with another dog – a bloody great Doberman. They both proceeded to circle around me, snarling menacingly and scaring the life out of me. I couldn’t run because a) I’d given it up some years back – see first dog incident and b) I didn’t fancy the prospect being chased up the street by a draught excluder on legs and its sidekick. I swear to God, if I’d had my phone with me I would have rung the police, that’s how petrified I was.
Now I know at this point all you dog lovers are going to scoff at my ignorance and tell me that dogs only react when threatened but these are not the only bad experiences I’ve had. And yes, I know that not all dogs are like this and that the majority are really friendly but I’m not sure I’m brave enough to take that risk.
2. Their owners
Last week, I was walking through Bradgate Park with Pud when a jet black Labrador with the loveliest face came bounding up to us.
‘She’s after your apple’, her owner smiled.
Well she can’t have it, I thought to myself.
‘Aw how sweet,’ I replied, ‘I didn’t know dogs like apples’. This is because I don’t own a dog and am therefore not familiar with their dietary habits.
‘Oh yes, Molly loves them,’ her owner continued, ‘in fact give me a shout when you’re done and she’ll eat the core.’
No need to shout though as Molly didn’t leave my side, staring up at me with her huge brown eyes as she watched every bite I took. I finished my apple and sure enough Molly took the core from me and devoured it. Such was my delight, I found myself stroking her silky coat and wistfully considering what life might be like with a canine friend in our family.
However, as we continued walking, I was soon reminded why these impure thoughts should never so much as enter my mind and it arrived in the form of two woolly Highland Westies belonging to someone Pud used to work with. I’ve seen these sort of dogs before, cute and fluffy and looking like they should smell of candy floss but as you get nearer you quickly realise that the aroma clinging to their matted fur is anything but sweet.
Men criticise women for talking but by God, Pud and his mate gave us a good run for our money. From football to work colleagues to kids to football to work colleagues, Pud and his mate droned on and on, while all the time those stinky dogs took turns to leap up at me, leaving smears of some foul-smelling substance on my trousers with each jump.
Now, I completely understand that not everyone likes children and this is one of the reasons why I don’t let Molly and Eddy roll around in shit before running up to complete strangers and throwing their arms around them. Similarly, I wouldn’t let them lick your hands and cover your fingers with weird-smelling slobber. I therefore don’t think it’s too much to ask that a dog owner extends the same courtesy to me. I don’t want to hear that your dog is just being friendly and that’s why they’re practically pushing me over and covering me in filth, I just want them not to do it and I’d be ever so grateful if every now and then you could appreciate that not everyone is going to love your dog in the same way that you do.
Oh yes, and you don’t have to be so darned friendly all of the time you know. For a socially inept person such as myself, I don’t think that I could handle such chipper behaviour on a daily basis.
3. Their poo
I’ve been known to throw shoes away rather than have to clean dog-doings off them and there is NO way that I’m ever going to wrap a plastic bag around my hand and get down and dirty with a freshly laid, still-steaming dog log.
And that is my final word on the matter.