The politicians lick our bones,
The tacticians, hearts of stone
They turn us against our brothers
Make us fight and kill each other
Locked in lust we put our trust in dogs
– Motorhead, “Dogs”.
It’s a dog’s life, a dog’s breakfast, dogbreath, so many ways in which dogs are denigrated in our language. They get muddy, they cost in vet fees, food, flea and worm medicines, need walking even when it is pissing down and freezing, and you have to pick their shit up. With two primary school age children, we can’t leave the unattended dog in the same room as them. How much are kennel fees per week if we go on holiday?
Whether this is because dog owners are getting out and about more than non dog owners I cannot say but speaking personally I went from 10K steps a day average to over 20K.
Over a period of around four years MBW and I argued both sides of the dog argument, when she was keen for a dog I was not and vice versa. It really took the worsening health of my mother at the tail end of last year that focused our minds – if not now, then when?
Mum died at the end of December and we got a dog just over a month later. He’d been trained by a specialist kennel who winnow out failed gun/police/working dogs; what makes them poor at working quite often makes them good as family pets. House trained, command trained and 18 months old so no longer a needful puppy.
Coming up for 3 months now and what is the prognosis? Well, he’s vomited in the car a few times, managed to tear off his name tag in the woods somehow and wee’d all over the conservatory floor when overexcited. And nicked a block of cheese off the worktop that someone inadvertently left out.
But my resting heart rate has dropped 5 bpm, my grief at losing my mother has been cushioned and my mood very much improved to the positive. When you are worn down by shaking your fist at the sky it is impossible not to have your spirits raised by the sight of a wagging tail. A dog who is always pleased to see you, for whom every meal is a feast and all he asks is a ball thrown for him to fetch. Again.
Edward Hoagland once wrote “In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semi human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.” and I never really took much in from that. But having a dog has made me change the way I look at things I think – even after telling him off for pulling at the lead he was back to his tail wagging carefree happiness and enthusiasm. A dog seems to carry no resentment nor plan vengeance and is happier for it. Being positive and enthusiastic seems to rub off on people, although it helps if you have nice fluffy ears you like having stroked I suppose.
As prosecutor, George Graham Vest’s summation speech at the trial of a dog killer summed it up nicely:
“The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.
The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.”
If you’re having a rough day, a great day or an average time, look at the picture below and your day will be raised:
In these uncertain times we could all be a bit more dog.
© El Cnutador 2020