New Year Question: Dogs. Do you like them? Or not? Please select the appropriate comments box below, and tell me why. (or just 'woof', if it's easier) I'm a dog person: I'm not a dog person:
I hate dogs. Nasty slobbery smelly creatures. Their tongues droop with spittle and their fur crawls with fleas. Their breath reeks of decaying flesh and their fangs gleam with evil intent. I hate small dogs which fuss and yap. I hate large dogs which bound and bounce. I hate toy dogs which preen and trot. I hate ferocious dogs which sneer and bite. I hate over-excited dogs which bark and wag. I hate feral dogs which stalk and pounce. I hate wide-eyed dogs which dribble and pant. I hate defensive dogs which guard and growl. I hate the lot. Sorry, but I just can't stand bloody dogs.
I've hated dogs ever since one particular day when I was very little. I was out in the street strapped into my pushchair, defenceless and vulnerable, when a local mongrel had the audacity to bound up and lick me on the face. Apparently it was just trying to be friendly and say hello, but as far as I was concerned this evil dog had invaded my personal space and physically assaulted me. The whole experience quite freaked me out, and I've been nervous and uncomfortable around canine company ever since. I can't sit down in a room containing a dog for fear of being nuzzled. If there's a dog anywhere in the building, I can't settle. I cross the road to avoid an unleashed pet. I think twice about walking down a footpath or country lane just in case I meet a dog halfway along. I'm no recluse, don't get me wrong, but I'd still be much happier in a completely dog-free world.
Dog owners themselves are a strange breed, unfailingly devoted to their shaggy pets. They treat and pamper their dogs like surrogate children. They think nothing of leaving bowls of raw meaty chunks in the corner of their kitchen. They go out walking in all weathers to prevent their dog from becoming restless and gnawing the furniture. They pick up turds in the park in a plastic bag. They get moist-eyed when they see a little puppy on TV advertising toilet paper. They holiday at home rather than have to send their little darling away to kennels. They often think more highly of their dog than they would a small child.
So over the years I've come to realise that my real problem isn't with dogs themselves, but with their owners. If they could keep their pets under control and out of my way, I'd be much calmer. Dog owners don't seem to understand that the rest of us might not share their love of all things canine. They ignore signs reading "Dogs must be kept on a lead" whenever they think it's inappropriate. They watch impassively as their dog sniffs around your private parts, insisting that it's merely "getting to know you". They let their untrained dog run rampage in the park, because they can't be bothered to train it not to. They invite you to sit on their sofa or in the back of their car, causing your clothes to become covered by hundreds of strands of sticky white hair. They insist that their dog isn't vicious, but just playful. They erect signs outside their house which read "Warning: this dog bites", then wonder why they never get any visitors. They look shocked if you ask them to lock their Alsatian away in the kitchen when you come to visit. They tell you not to be frightened of their over-eager barking pet because it can "smell fear". In short, they think of their dog first and other people second.
Yes, I know that not all dog owners are quite so selfishly short-sighted, and that not all dogs are untrained malevolent beasts. But dogs are not this man's best friend. I suspect, when it all boils down to it, that I'm with the Chinese on this one...