Friday, November 29, 2019

A Guide To Country Dog Owners And Their Dogs, Part 1

My adoring readers and/or fans will be aware that I am now the adjunct of Cairn terrier called Alan.  Alan is keen on walks and gets a couple a day. This means that I have, for the least year, been exposed to the wide range of dog owners (and dogs) in this particular part of Britain (Cambs/Herts/Essex border).  Here is my guide (Part 1).

"Well, Poppy is a WORKING dog"
Poppy is a spaniel with dead eyes. She constantly looks anxiously up at her owner as owner marches along, eyes peeled for unruly behaviour in other dogs. "Well THAT won't work", she says, snatching the lead out of a fellow walker's hand and tugging at their dog unbidden.  "You need a CHOKE CHAIN. Pull her back sharply every time she walks in front and she will heel within the hour".  Poppy sighs sadly and tries to yawn, but she cannot; her head is encased in harness that holds her mouth closed. "Did you go to puppy training?", she asks, watching Alan eat some badger poo. "Yes". "Who?" I tell her about Miranda, dog handler, actor, writer, ex-bouncer, the love of Alan's life. "I have never heard of her", she says, and marches off with Poppy.  "You're going to live with her if you don't behave", I say to Alan. Alan yawns.

"We've ALWAYS had Labradors"
Fall into 3 broad types (pls. inform me if there is another I have missed): 
  1. Yer classic Sloane Ranger of the old school who really HAVE always had Labradors. They have framed, faded photographs of dogs past and present on the piano that have equal weighting as pics of grandchildren (wearing scruffy ski suits), Mummie sailing in 1963, Ollie on his gap year in India and headshots of blonde daughters. "Ben was a wonderful dog", says the usually reticent husband of the dog owner sadly, looking at the headshot of a broad-faced, open-mouthed black lab with the wind in his ears. "So much easier than ... people." 
  2. Social climbers in Range Rovers ("I just feel so much SAFER"); park across two spaces in the station car park; wear brand new Barbours; get two Labrador puppies who are never trained and spend most of the day at home alone chewing things (including the Barbour dog bed and pristine Aigle boots) next to the brand new 5-oven Aga. Blame 'the breeder' or 'the trainer' or 'the stupid dog' if anything goes wrong.  
  3. Proper country people who just get on with it and whose dogs are very well behaved, sleeping perfectly contentedly on an old blanket, rewarding any attention with slow but very loud tail thumps.

"He's just pleased to see you!"
Owners of absolute fucking lunatic, gigantic, pulling, jumping, out of control dogs (usually golden Retrievers) who, if they hit you at full pelt, would knock you on your arse and/or break your leg. Known for jumping up when covered in mud. "He's just being friendly!", says the owner, as you brush unknowable brown stuff off every part of your body and remember the washing machine is on the blink.

"She's NEVER done that before"
But she has, hasn't she. Your dog is a known terrorist with a particular penchant for the ears of ancient spaniels and old lady terriers and a fondness for yapping endlessly, all day and all night. You can apologise all you like, and you can try and tell us she's never done it before, but The Walkers Of The Big Field talk, and we know the truth.

Coming next week: small dogs, terriers, rehomed dogs, rare breeds, the dog that licks its own wee, and more!

Pip pip!


1 comment:

katie said...

My dog licks other dogs' willies. Hope he'll be covered next week!


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