I am, unlike most of the known universe, not a dog person. In fact I do not consider myself an “anything” person and I harbour a deep suspicion about people who claim to love every member of a type, like cats, dogs or children. It makes me think that they just like having someone smaller than themselves to push around. As for those who claim to love all full grown people, well, they’re just psychopaths. So says Dr. Clare.
Me, I take each unit of life on a case by case basis. At least that is what I thought until this week. I have just spent a week feeding my neighbours two dogs. One is a lumpy, misshapen sheep dog. She’s a sly, sneaky bitch who tries to bite ankles from behind. The gorgeous sheep dog across the road was put down a few years back as she was accused of doing just this. I suspect she was framed by our lumpy dog and so my view of her is jaundiced to say the least. Her owner excuses her because she had a bad childhood. Join the club, bitch.
The Alsatian though, is my pal. In fact I used to think I loved him. He was always a bit of a gombeen but he has a certain joie de vivre about him. Until, that is, I became the keeper of the doggy food.
Now, any time he sees me he runs up all pleading eyes and raises his paw in askance. Sometimes he tries to kiss me (YUCK!:PPP). As soon as I pick up his bowl he descends into a blather of obsequiousness. “You’re feeding ME?!”, he burbles. “Oh I can’t believe it, how is this happening to me?!!!”He cringes, wagging not just his tail but his whole arse around. “How did I get to be SOOO lucky!!”On the one hand it seems entirely sincere on the other hand I’m sure this behaviour wouldn’t be out of place in Hollywood and more the underbelly than the A-list at that. I’m just not easy with it you know?”Calm down,” I say, “Its your food. You get it every day right?”
So my once noble(ish) pal is reduced to an excruciatingly desperate, needy moron. Yes, before you ask, I was feeding him enough, more than enough but somehow I know it could never be enough. I was playing with him, same as usual(though his understanding of throw the ball/stick is, as always, very vague). Now he wants to do it all the time.
He lost his ball the other day and so he went and got a log off the woodpile to carry around to make himself more attractive to me. It is bad enough to see this in a person but in an animal?And like every man or woman I have ever seen who tries too hard(especially by carrying a round a log)he was doomed to failure.
Most dog owners must revel in this feeling of power. Sometimes I wonder if they are failed megalomaniacs, unable to muster a following of minions yet unable to do without the indiscriminate fawning a dog offers. I am not without the need to have my ego stroked but I just cannot avoid the thought that, like all fawning ass kissers who will rip you to shreds as soon as your back is turned, your dog will eat the face off your corpse without a second thought, Greyfriars Bobby notwithstanding.
ASIDE:I used to work in Greyfriars Art shop across the road from the statue of Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh. You all know the story of the little terrier who sat on his masters grave for years until he died, right?Well tourists from all over the world used to come and have their pictures taken at the statue and it amused me no end to place a joke shop turd at the statues feet. No-one ever noticed. It was immature perhaps but I was young then, only in my thirties. I like to think there are pictures of that little dog and his turd in collections world-wide.
Now I realise I can’t be a dog-owner partly because over-dependence is not my thing but also because I am fully aware that later today when his owners come back my pal will go back to being my pal. He will haughtily ignore me unless he wants a treat or he has got into some kind of trouble. So all this neediness is, not quite fake but entirely mercenary, utterly ridiculous and completely pointless. After all, I’m going to feed him anyway.
A cat on the other hand, well you know where you are with a cat. Last week I was feeding my parents cat, a shabby grey thing that I have never particularly liked. She has a high opinion of herself, and her nerves are delicate. She reminds me a little of Mrs. Bennett in Pride & Prejudice all mindless drama and self-absorption.
To get her in the house you have to open the door and then leave the room to wait for her as she sits and considers whether you are worthy of her company. When she finally makes her move she minces in, she gives you a wide berth as if you were a ten day old mouse corpse wrapped in a turd.
“Who the fuck are you?” she meows disgustedly. “Where are the old people?Actually, screw the old people, where’s my food?”
So you give her the food. She looks at it and then glares at you until you back respectfully out of the room. This is Hollywood yes, but a Bette Davis-Joan Crawford sort of Hollywood, something all cats seem to share like Cat Diva who lives across the road here at Westown.
Afterwards you may be allowed to pick her up. She will stick her claws into you for a moment or two so you don’t get the stupid idea that you could be friends before she meows angrily to be let down to off into the night. That cat, she got bidness to attend to you know what I’m sayin’?Sure, she’d gnaw on your corpse if she could but somehow it would be a privilege to have your face eaten off by a cat.
So, I finally have to admit, I am at heart a cat person. I have respect for a cat I don’t like and no respect for a dog I loved, the dog, who, right now is standing out in the rain, staring in the window. He can’t see me, but he knows I am here. My furry stalker. All the nobility and independence of his wolfish forbears bred out of him. He will continue to be my pal though our relationship can never be the same. You gotta have the respect you know?Cats though. You know where you are with those bitches.