I’ve got a confession to make and it might get me slung in the doghouse.
I don’t like man’s best friend.
My best friend is, well, my best friend.
I have tried for YEARS to be a dog lover. But this is me officially withdrawing from the ‘please can I have a dog’ campaign which I have been running for the last year. Much like BoJo in Brexit it’s a campaign I’m not sure I want to win.
My husband told me that I didn’t really want one, that I’m a bit scared of them, that I wouldn’t walk it regularly enough and that I’ve got enough on my plate.
I told him I would. I’d get wellies, I’d be practical, I’d stride through long grass and shout ‘heel’ so convincingly that all three kids and the dog would sit down by my heel (is that what it means? not sure).
But turns our I am a little bit scared of them, I don’t want to walk it and quite frankly I’ve got enough on my plate.
The problem is that I want to be a dog lover. I like all the things which come hand in hand with being a dog lover. I like the casual nonchalance of the dog owner as they take a lick to the face. I like the way how sometimes this happens as they are talking and they just style it out. How they don’t run off to gargle with listerine because technically they have just tongued a dog. I admire the way they power walk everywhere with the confidence of someone who has an animal sidekick bobbing by their side, the Robin to their batman, the Rodney to their Del boy, the Lassie to their annoying child. I enjoy the way they casually bag up another mammals faeces just because that mammal belongs to them and that mammal will never, ever, ever (ever) learn how to use the toilet. I love the fact that they consider their dogs part of the family – no one could ever have too many members of the family to love right? I get the vibe off some dog owners that they prefer dogs to actual humans (because they tell me) and although I find it creepy, I like it.
But it’s not me.
I know what your thinking – I have three feral little puppies at home too. And I do, but despite their best puppy impressions (Frank’s is actually pretty bloody good) they are humans and can do human stuff like go on holiday, are allowed into museums and can pour Gin and Tonics in a crisis (into plastic glasses, don’t freak out). And they only very occasionally shit in the garden. And I didn’t exactly breed them. I mean I did birth them but they just came like they are. When you choose a dog you have to choose a breed or a cross breed or whatever else and I’m just going to go out on a bit of a hairy limb here and say if they were human/a part of the family – is that a bit dogist? And the pedigree humans get the pedigree dogs and there is a distinct dog class system (I mean who can think of a corgi without thinking royalty?). So in actual fact we have made the dog world a lot like our world and that makes it somewhat less appealing, especially when the initial appeal held a certain degree of fear for me in the first instance (what? I’m not scared, I’m shaking because I’m cold, OK?).
So why don’t I just admit that I’m not going to chair the dog appreciation society meetings anytime soon? All I’m saying is that I’m not that keen on dogs, it’s hardly offensive is it? I’m not anti animals – you’re not going to open up the paper and find me draped across a dead giraffe with a gun held phalically in between my legs (particularly because I LOVE giraffes, now that would be a lovely pet – bit inconvenient on the school run). I haven’t let it go and I have tried for so long to be in the ‘we heart canine’ crew because although I don’t absolutely love dogs I do have a habit for absolutely loving a dog lover. And not just for the aforementioned welly wearing, poo scooping, grass striding reasons. I just seem to be drawn to them. I find myself nodding along to conversations about puppy training and doggy daycare. I accidentally discuss my favourite breed (British bulldog) and think of all the fun I could have with my new British Bulldog (who would be called Roger). Fun would invariably involve curling up on the sofa with Roger and reading the Sunday papers – namely India Knight who I LOVE and incidentally has just written a book on, yep, you guessed it – dogs. So whilst it’s supposed to be resonating with the dog lovers amongst us it is also resonating with me – the lover of the dog lovers.
So the pretence is up. Mark, you were right (as bloody usual) I don’t want a dog. I wanted to want a dog. I don’t really love them, I mean I like them – I am fond of admiring them from a distance, or in a photo, bit like other peoples’ children.
But as for the humans who love the dogs, I really am very fond of them indeed. So although I many never be the ‘dog lover’ I aspire to be, I will always be a ‘dog lover’ lover.
Roger, if you are reading this is in the future you were always wanted, you were not a mistake and you are a bloody phenomenal blog reading dog. Mark doesn’t like you – go eat his shoe.