Deborah Ross: 'A dog will love you unconditionally and will continue to love you unconditionally unless someone else feeds it'

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If you ask me, it is about time someone told the truth about dogs and this "unconditional love" business. In fact, let me tell you a story about a woman who knows a bit about it, and even though this woman is me, let's pretend it isn't, because it would just be too distressing otherwise.

OK, so once upon a time there was a woman who loved her dog but the dog was getting fat. The woman knew this because the vet said to her: "This dog is getting fat," and when the woman said, "He's not fat, he's just big-boned, you big silly," the vet said, "That'll be £769... next!"

Now, in all the years the woman and her family have had this dog, she has always been the one to feed it. Anyhow, she thought about the dog getting fat, and thought that maybe she did over-feed the dog. This woman is very much a Jewish mother and she did not want the dog to be barking at bushes or chewing up the post on an empty stomach. So the woman said to her husband: as you do not have the same genetic urge to over-feed, why don't you take over the feeding?

Now, until this point the dog had loved the woman best. The dog followed the woman wherever she went. The dog would look longingly out of the window whenever she went out. The dog slept at her feet while she said she was working but was, in fact, Googling swimwear that might hide her cellulite, even though, in her heart, she knew there was no swimsuit on earth to hide her cellulite.

But then the husband took over the feeding and – WITHIN 24 HOURS! – the dog was following him around the house, looking longingly out of the window for him, and sleeping at his feet while he was pretending to work but was, in fact, bidding for tat on eBay.

So this is what this woman now has to say about dogs and unconditional love: HA! And again: HA! And this is what she has learnt: a dog will love you unconditionally and will continue to love you unconditionally unless someone else feeds it, in which case it will love them unconditionally. The woman accepts that, in this sense, dogs are very good at loving unconditionally indeed.

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