Barking Blondes: Other people’s dogs
We had a radio producer, who, having recently become a mother and was therefore expected to do her share of child minding, once said “Just because I love mine… doesn’t mean I can tolerate theirs.”
We think the same can be said for dog ownership. There is always an instant connection between the meetings of the same breed. For instance, we both have bull breeds and should we meet another British bulldog or miniature bull terrier in the park, then there is camaraderie as we compare weight, features and behavior etc. We then we walk on. Often with all parties complacent in the belief that their dog is fitter and more obedient.
But what about the visiting dog to your house? The dog that is accompanying his owner because they were calling in anyway and you have enthusiastically revealed that you have a dog and there is a garden for them all to play in.
How soon into the visit, when “visiting” dog has peed on your slate floor mistaking it for pavement, do you realize this mutt has no house manners, social skills and is eating all your own dog’s toys? Then, do you, as with children, take the risk of reprimanding other peoples charges?
A young mother of twins living at the end of our street has a yorkie but loves bulldogs. When she saw us out with Matilda, our bulldog, she invited us in for tea, so the twins could meet her.
As she opened her front door, the vision of a glorious empty, leather sofa came into view just as Matilda ran, bounced onto it, and scratched massive marks into the upholstery. Suddenly our dog had become the “visiting” dog with all the anti-social behavior that comes with it.
They say there are no bad dogs just bad owners. And maybe we make enormous demands on these domesticated creatures by expecting them to abide by the rules of individual households. The owner of the house with the massive garden enjoyed by the male Doberman, never forgave the visiting Labrador bitch, whose pee burned circular scorch marks into the lawn.
Molly, our bull terrier, on a home visit, after just a few seconds, will have cased the joint, eaten the remains from resident’s dog bowl and settled all her attention on any vessel containing food. This can be a fridge, fruit bowl or shopping bag. A low gurgling noise then begins to erupt from her throat causing host dog to mistake it for aggression. Not the most relaxing environment in which to take tea.
Most days will find us in Regents Park. In keeping with most urban dog owners we get to suss out the dogs that like our dogs and if we like the owners, then that’s a bonus, whilst we all stand and chat. However, recently, there is a new comer to the group. A young polish girl who has rescued an unneutered massive, cross breed mutt, and for the sake of this blog, who we will call Nelson.
She is a total joy, brings Polish cakes for us all to share whilst huddled under coats on cold winter mornings, sings the virtues of London and offers to dog sit should any of us need her. Nelson, on the other hand is a total pain in the neck, mounts anything, including joggers, jumps literally into your arms whilst covered in mud and barks incessantly at squirrels and bites cyclists. Now, when Nelson enters the park all of us scatter, clip the leads back onto our own dogs and pretend we have to get home to cook a casserole.
All dogs are wonderful or are they? Cos, well with Nelson… we just don’t like him.
The Barking Hour, every Thursday, 3-4Pm, BBC London 94.9FMbarking blondes, dogs, pets, The Barking Hour
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