Cole Moreton: Oversexed, overwrought, and over my dead body

I flatly refuse to let a dog into my heart – or my home
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Gordon Brown, we are told, despises dogs. He hates hounds, loathes Labradors and is churlish about chihuahuas, so that hospitable ambassadors are being warned to keep embassy canines out of sight. Quite right too: the last thing he needs when saving the world (again) is Monsieur Fido doing to the prime ministerial pinstripe what hedge fund managers did to the economy.

On this matter, if no other, our leader is right. Dogs are dire. They have no place in a civilised society. No amount of tail-wagging disguises the essential stupidity of inviting a stinking, foul-breathed, hair-trailing animal to share your living space, your sofa, your kitchen (ugh) and even your bed. What if it were a fox? Foxes are untrainable, protest the doggists. They mean a fox can’t be ordered to display obedience and affection. It’s never about the dog, it’s always about meeting the emotional needs of the owner. And they’re scary.

Take the Dog Woman of Dulwich who let her 60 Alsatians terrorise the neighbourhood. There were vicious attacks, all-night howls and nervous breakdowns. The guilty woman has fled to America, it was reported on Friday. Deep inside every doggist is a selfish streak as wide as hers.

You can see it in the park, as a huge hound tries to lick the face off a child. “It’s OK,” chuckles the indulgent doggist, “Satan’s only being playful.” But it’s not OK for the child to be assaulted by a powerful, erratic creature that terrifies her. She also has the right not to step in its excrement. Perhaps she should smear some of hers on the doggist’s garden path. Do those who pick up the doo-doo with little plastic bags have any idea how pathetic it looks? They’re only doing it because the law got tough: before that, the stuff was everywhere.

The obvious conclusion is that dog lovers are only constrained by society: remove peer pressure and they would soon let the hounds run amok, as in terrorised Dulwich. The truth is that a dog is not a chum. It’s a beast. It will love you only as long as you let it eat, run, dump and hump (before you cut its balls off. Very loving. But don’t worry, it’s stupid enough to forgive even that). If you want companionship, get a companion. If you like walks, go for them. Don’t use dogs as an excuse, like my friend who flees the washing-up by walking his retriever – usually to the pub.

I do understand that when a pet dies it is like losing a member of the family (although why invite a mute brute with a short lifespan to join in the first place?). Only last week, an actor lost a pal. “Mickey Rourke’s Beloved Loki Goes To Doggy Heaven,” said the Los Angeles Times, and I confess that something moved in me. Soon afterwards, it was expelled.

LA is the source of doggist propaganda like Bolt, a 3D version of the old Disney puppy-on-a-road-trip story. Not once does our hero cock his leg. Not once does he chew a valuable piece of furniture. Of hairs all over the place there are none. I wouldn’t mind a dog if he was like Bolt … but then I’d be easier to live with if I was like Superman. I’m not, or I would be able to convince my daughter, who is desperate for a puppy. I just say no. That’s why I’m bedding down out here, next to Gordon and the merchant bankers. In the doghouse.