I would love to have a dog / many dogs, so my husband has started barking and howling as he thinks that this is a good enough substitute for a dog. I'm not sure I quite agree with him. Fortunately, he hasn't taken to jumping up on our guests or wetting on the floor and insisting on being toilet trained, but you never know.
There is an overabundance of dogs here in southern Spain, in every shape, color, form and age. Just this week I have been offered: 1) a beautiful black puppy, probably a great Dane mix even though I swore to Joerg it wouldn't get any bigger than a Maltese poodle; 2) a gorgeous blond (goes without saying) puppy with lots of Labrador in it (and the same promise to the husband); 3) a German shepherd crossed with something incredibly fluffy, puppy. And I haven't even started on the grown-up ones. I want them all.
I was just reading an article by Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times newspaper (25.9.11) on just this subject – how much we love doggies. He is an amazing writer and also car person. I voluntarily watch programs about cars 'cos he makes it so interesting. He actually makes you want to go out and open the bonnet...okay, watch a man with builders bum open a bonnet. He reminds one of all the “fun times” one has with dogs.
We always had dogs at home. Lots of dogs. At one time we had Lucy the Maltese Poodle, Prince and Nina the two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Twinkles, a miniature Pekingese. Prince weighed about 100 pounds, had teeth the size of tusks and standing on his back legs was as tall as I am, but he thought he was a 2 pound lapdog. We always said that if anyone broke into our house (he was apparently a guard dog), he would lick the intruders to death.
And then there was Twinkles. She weighed about 2 pounds wet, but she thought she was a 100 pound man eating guard monster. This “almost a dog” had all delivery persons quivering in fear. She lived to be 18 years old and had no teeth for at least the last 5 of those, but that didn't stop her. She would gum-suck rather than bite the inattentive. The pharmacy delivery person would sneak up to our front door, put the bag on the step, knock on the door and start running. But Twinkles had a delivery 6th sense and she'd be out and after him in a flash. She never did any serious physical damage, but the mental damage will take years of therapy.
All the dogs would be given bones in the evening and Twinkles had to have a big one just like the others as otherwise... She could not eat her bone without any teeth, so she would just spend hours guarding it. The big dogs would walk past at a healthy distance and you would hear her snarling, growling and going for them like a rabid bear. NO-ONE ever took it off her. They had to wait for her to tire of guarding it and go off to her spot on my parents bed before they could have it. So sweet.
Lucy, the Maltese, used to hump Nina the Ridgeback as a sign of dominance. Due to the size difference, Nina wold actually have to lie down for this to happen. She would lie, Lucy would mount, then Nina would take her by the scruff and throw her off. Lucy would then run round, jump on her again, start humping, then Nina would grab her by the scruff, throw her off, and then the process would start again. This would go on for hours.
You know how dogs are absolutely under no circumstance to eat chocolate? Well, Prince was unaware of this. I had baked a chocolate cake, taken it out of the oven and was sat at the kitchen table chatting to my sister while the cake cooled on the table next to us. His head was table height and he ever so quietly ate the hot cake without us even noticing. I was not amused.
Another time he ate a whole frozen chicken. Still in the plastic wrapping. And lived to tell the tale. However, when he ate one of my brand new shoes, the danger of death came not from the plastic shoe.
Jeremy's last paragraph:
“This is the reality of dog ownership. Fluids. Mess. Stolen food. Expense. Savaged paper boys. No post. Vet's bills. Broken vacuum cleaners. Ruined washing machines. Chewed shoes. Unravelled bog rolls. Endless barking, and then terrible, aching sadness when they die.
I can understand, therefore, why they make such an ideal substitute for a husband or wife. There's no real difference.”
I put down the newspaper and picked up the toilet paper roll, which suddenly fell out of my hands and unravelled itself. I laughed and my husband started barking, so maybe we really don't need a dog after all.