Monday, 18 August 2008

Do you hate your dogs? I think I do

I've never been much of a dog lover, because I've never been able to understand the point of having them. Maybe this is a character flaw, or maybe it's just because I don't have the dog-loving gene. Unfortunately for me, my three kids, and my husband, adore dogs, and so we have three of them, two of whom madden me to the point that I have seriously considered leaving our driveway gate wide open so that they run away and get adopted by a loving family.

I have only really loved and bonded with one dog in my life, and that is my adorable basset hound Velvet, She Who Can Do No Wrong. Velvet - see pic, left - is the perfect dog. She is kind, patient, sweet, obedient, and very cuddly; she has ludicrously long ears and enormous paws, and her coat is fluffy and long - an undesirable trait in bassets, I have since learned. She has droopy pink-rimmed eyes, hyperactive eyebrows and an expression of perplexment and deep disappointment. She adores me, follows me from room to room, and loves nothing more than to drape herself all over me, and give deep, contented, melodramatic sighs. When I take her in the car, she hangs out of the window, her ridiculous ears billowing out like a ships' sails behind the car.

So what's the problem, I hear you ask. You love one dog, you love 'em all. Sorry, but that's not the case at all. Velvet is an obvious freak of nature: she has inherited none of the genes that make dogs so offensive. For one thing, she doesn't smell. [All the dogs I knew as a child smelled terrible to me, perhaps because I grew up on a smallholding where there was a lot of animal dung on the ground. We had about eighteen generations of bulldogs, mixed in with various mongrels who ravished them during their adventures in the veld, and the smell of their fur on my hand always made me want to gag.]

For another, she is not particularly loud, barky, rude or boisterous. She poos neatly in a back corner of the flower garden, she doesn't chew or steal or howl, and her fireside farts are never strong enough to blister the paint on the skirting boards. She is kind and loving towards to annoying cats, too - as this picture proves.

But as for the other two: I wish I didn't own them. Out of respect for his age, I'm not going to diss Duke, an annoying, dysfunctional old staffie who is on his last arthritic legs, because he doesn't have many years left in him, and because he has nobly spent the last ten years tramping around the suburbs with me on my daily walks as my personal attack dog. I won't say a word about his manic, obsessive-complusive behaviour, which includes six hours a day of licking walls until his drool forms a river that actually seeps under my front door. And I won't even mention the amount of money I've spent at my local vet, getting this sorry old hound x-rayed, hip-replaced, knee-replaced, pain-relieved and tranquillised. No, I cannot say a word against Duke.

But I do want to throttle our one-year-old basset hound, Akamaru [previously known as Coco]. She's a disobedient, thieving little bitch, who barks and howls incessantly, respects nobody, is immune to any sort of training, chews everything in sight, leaves big steaming mounds all over the house, the driveway and my herb and vegetable garden, escapes from my gate at every opportunity, misbehaves so badly in the park and on walks that I've given up taking her, fights with other dogs, rips up dustbin bags, and the dustbins themselves, sneaks through windows, steals food off counters, tears up my plants, chews my shoes - and any pair of knickers or underpants, to the point of leaping up and ripping them off the washing line - and smells like the tail-end of a sewer rat. She infuriates my neighbours, frightens the postman, terrorises vistors and spends many hours every night whining and pawing at our front door.

I don't have the dog-loving gene, and Akamaru doesn't seem to have anything between her long ears at all. I wish I didn't own her. In fact, I could do without dogs altogether.

I realise I am going to provoke some ire by saying this upfront. Some twelve or so years ago, I wrote a column for Fairlady magazine complaining about how offensive dogs and their owners were, and the magazine received a flurry of outraged letters from dog lovers denouncing me as a heartless beast.

But I haven't changed my mind. I don't really like dogs, and I don't see the point of them.

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MzHartz said...

That's okay, I hate humans. There's a few I've bonded with, but for the most part, they smell (particularly babies and old people), they're loud, rude, and boisterous, they destroy things, and they don't get along with other creatures nevertheless each other.

Juno said...

Lol... maybe you have a point. Do you want my dogs?

Muriel said...

I agree wholeheartedly! I don't like dogs as a species but my own Wobbly Dog, Sara, like your Velvet, is an exception, for all the reasons you make an exception of Velvet. My friend Ronaldo, who owns dogs, once said that he doesn't like children as a rule, but he likes mine; and I was able to return the compliment vis-a-vis his dogs. We decided it had something to do with the owners/parents, rather than the dogs/children themselves. But then how do you explain one offensive dog/child in a household where other dogs/children aren't offensive?

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