In last week’s writer’s group, we read a poem about a dog. Everyone re-acted, even those who didn’t have dogs. What is it about man’s (woman’s) best friend that brings out something in all of us? Everyone had a story to tell and the mood of the meeting was upbeat as we swapped stories about our furry friends.
Our dog, affectionately known as Louie the lips, is an elderly terrier half-breed. Half-bred with what, we can only guess. There have been times, when he took to chasing our car up the road, that we considered him part greyhound, other times when he climbed in through partially opened windows, we reckoned he was interbred with a cat. He was certainly an escape artist and we lost track of the number of times he managed to get over fences, under gates and at times, we had no idea at all how he had escaped. He never went far. Well, maybe a good 2 miles, down a country road to a housing estate in the nearest town and always to a particular house. It was as if he went on a little holiday, a town break, so to speak! We used to think that maybe, in his little canine mind, he was thinking to himself, ‘I need a break from the routine. I will visit my other family. They will talk to me, pet me, allow me on the furniture,’ and off he would go. He would stand at their door until he was let in, or sometimes climb in a partially open window uninvited but sure of his welcome. They would ring us to let us know he was there, and we would collect him, and he would trot out to the car without a backward glance, hop in the back as if to say, ‘what kept ye?’
As a young terrier, he spent most of his day racing around the garden, barking at the wind and everyone that came within ten yards of the front gate. Now that he is older, he still tears around barking if he feels he must, but he prefers curling up in front of the fire or in his favourite place, my husband’s knee with a blanket covering him. He knows the hand that feeds him, but he still knows his place. He is not allowed in the bedrooms, although he also knows that my sons flaunt that rule and sneak him in when I’m not looking. He is not allowed on the furniture, hence the blanket hiding him when he is on my husband’s knee on his armchair in front of the window. Like most dogs and small children, he thinks if he can’t see me then I can’t see him. We are all openly affectionate with him, he is part of the family after all and what better feeling is there than relaxing in front of the TV with your pet at your feet. I mean, directly on your feet, asleep, so you can’t move for fear of disturbing him.
Having said that I am always amazed at the number of people, mainly women I should add, who treat their dogs like small babies. Women who shower more affection on their dogs than they ever did on their own children. Cuddling a child and showering a child with kisses I can understand, but a dog is a dog, do you realise where their snouts have been?
No matter what your viewpoint, or your taste in our canine friends, every home should have a dog. They hold your heart and soothe the soul. They teach responsibility to your children and the joy of unconditional love to the entire household.
Dogs have a reputation for being ‘man’s best friend’ for a very good reason!