I think we all know that broadly you get out of life what you put in. It’s probably obvious to everyone with a dog that it applies very much to pooch ownership. Want a bell behaved dog? Spend time training him. Want him to not chew…well ,literally everything…then ensure he has chew toys and that you work hard to understands from an early age what is appropriate to chew and what is not.
(As you can see above, Theo is a huge fan of chewing loo rolls and yesterday I neglected to close the bathroom door and in just a few minutes he had shredded a couple he had got his pesky paws on.)
Anyway, back to my point.
Nowhere is the idea better demonstrated when it comes to dealing with what comes out of the other end to the end where things go in. It’s a curiously satisfying thing to have a dog with firm stools as it makes the pick up particularly easy. When we chose food for him I bought the best possible dry food I could so I am not feeding him any old stuff filled with sawdust and horse testicles. It’s the good stuff, so I am immensely proud when those dark chocolate coloured logs drop out and leave no residue when whisked from the pavement.
Conversely, I am filled with dread when faced with attempting to somehow cajole something akin to Christmas trifle into a small plastic bag whilst the dog stands by with a look on his face which says “Good luck with that fat boy, you got any sausages in your pocket?”
You know those artistic folk who do the wonderful chalk drawings on the pavements? Well imagine me as that artist. Instead of bright pastel colours and a picture of a young girl with a balloon or a unicorn majestically traversing a rainbow, my medium of choice is mustard coloured dog shit and I am smearing a hellish faecal vision on the pavements of Halifax which I have called “The benefits of fibre”.
So alas I must reduce the amount of human goodness he has been enjoying and be a more responsible owner. Well until he looks at me with those big brown eyes which demand the finest of delicacies be served up for his pleasure…
Dog tired, like a dog with a bone, dog eared – all phrases you will likely have heard of and being a few months in on dog ownership I can imagine how easily those phrases emerged and why they have stuck.
It has got me thinking though about my own experiences and a few turns of phrase that have become more…obvious…as the weeks have passed by.
I have enjoyed watching the jaw dropping shenannigans in the USA this past week so I thought I would combine my dog observations with a political slant.
“Donald desperately attempted to hold onto power with the steadfast immovability of a shitting dog.”
That works right? I think so. On many levels. What about…
“They stormed the once sacred halls, their eyes wild and their tongues lolling from their mouths like so many pink dog penises”
Hmm. Not as good. I think there is something to be discovered there though, something about…
“The sombre faces of the Democrats betrayed by the excited glint in their eyes, their righteous accusations springing forth like the pink points of the pointsetta’s penis.“
Too much alliteration I think. What about a last one.
“These were desperate times, and he reached for any sign of warmth in those around him. Even the friendship of Rudi Giuliani gave him some comfort, like a steaming bag of dog shit on cold hands on a frosty winters walk.”
I don’t think Mrs Afterwards is overly concerned that I do not regularly profess my undying love for her. In fact I am sure I said I did the day we married twenty years ago and that I would let her know if I changed my mind.
What does seem to irk her immeasurably is that I will not confess to loving the dog. I will walk him and feed him. I will gladly make him buttered toast and a nice cup of tea for his breakfast. (He prefers white bread not brown and never drinks the tea.) I will even quite happily take him outside to do whatever dogs enjoy doing outside as many times a day as he chooses despite the weather and the pandemic desperate to kill me right now.
In fact, I am quite happy to let him have the last sausage, the best piece of cheese and even lick me in ways no woman ever has despite once having the second worse breath I have ever encountered after eating something quite horrendous on one of our walks.
I don’t, however, feel the need to say I love him.
I have reserved my love for a discrete and quite specific assembly of peoples, places and things and I was not really prepared to open up that list. In fact, I am not at all certain that there is even room on the page for new things. I am 50 this year, I ought to be making bucket lists – not being overly fond of dogs. Even really cute ones. With floppy ears. And I swear he smiles sometimes even though that is surely not a thing dogs do. Smirk maybe, but not smile.
All said and done, I must admit that I really do like him, and not just as a friend and I think about him a lot and love every minute I spend with him and…Oh ffs, am I going to have to make a new list?
It’s a funny old thing but I had no idea how many people had dogs until we got our own. Everywhere I go there are people being dragged around the muddy byways of Halifax by hounds of such wonderfully varied shapes and sizes.
And what a friendly bunch they are. I have had more conversations with strangers than I thought possible and each time there seems to be an obligatory admiration of each others pooches and a standard set of questions as to age, breed and name.
It certainly feels like I have joined a club that has the requirements of having a pocket full of bagged dog poo as its membership card…