I don't mind dogs - it's their owners I dislike

Share

One charming tradition in Britain is the warning, in the weeks before Christmas, that a dog is for life. So this year, may I suggest a slightly different slogan - "Don't get a dog in an urban environment. A dog is in fact a wild animal designed for chasing across the plains and ripping out zebras' stomachs, you psychopath."

One charming tradition in Britain is the warning, in the weeks before Christmas, that a dog is for life. So this year, may I suggest a slightly different slogan - "Don't get a dog in an urban environment. A dog is in fact a wild animal designed for chasing across the plains and ripping out zebras' stomachs, you psychopath."

The best insight I had into the mind of dog-owners was while I lived on a council estate, and one dog would regularly crap at the bottom of the stairs to the block. One day, I caught it in mid-dump, and asked the owner if he could not do it again.

He said, "Well, it's a dog; it's got to go somewhere." I pledged that if I ever became a millionaire, I'd hire a huge herd of buffalo and get them to gallop through his flat. And when he complained, I'd say, "Well, they're buffalo, they've got to stampede somewhere."

It's not that I hate dogs, just as I don't hate rhinos. But I'd be bloody irritated if they started chasing around Crystal Palace Park as well.

It's the owners who are to blame. If you shriek "Get your dog off my neck," the best you can expect is a token "yeah sorry mate, here Vinny!". But if you reproach the owner any more, they come over all indignant, leading to "You were in his way."

Which makes me wonder whether, for the last 100 years, dog-owners have been in control of American foreign policy. It's an uncannily similar attitude - "yeah, all right, sorry about the blown up hospital and the massacred civilians. But what do you expect, walking all over a crucial trading route like that?"

The other response is the jolly "Oh, don't worry, he'll only lick you, he won't hurt you." Which may be true. But it's not the point. Being hosed down with soy sauce doesn't hurt, but you shouldn't be made to go through it without some say in the matter.

Dog-owners get their enjoyment in life from being smothered in animal spit, and that's their right. But owning a dog entails inflicting the thing on everyone else. Most people would feel inconsolably racked with guilt if they were the cause of mounds of squelching excrement destined for bicycle wheels, shoes and children's hair. But I suppose letting your dog foul in public is like being a hit man.

The first time, it plays on your mind. But by the 50th, it has become normal, and you can merrily watch as steaming cakes are deposited from squatting, straining hound mid-pavement, and not register a single extra heartbeat.

Because owning a dog is fundamentally antisocial. It's practised by the same people who swerve their car across the road while shouting into their mobile, or jump in a swimming-pool to do the backstroke diagonally from one corner to the other. I bet the proportion of dog-owners who vote Conservative is significantly higher than, say, of people who own a tortoise.

Now, the latest trend in urban animal-loving is an affection for "exotic pets" such as cobras and tarantulas. Which displays a similar thinking to dog-owning. Because if you were round at someone's house and found a bird-eating spider creeping up your arm, the owner would probably say "Oo - he likes you."

But the problem is the same. These people want their wild animals sanitised, but they aren't like other consumer toys. Even the repulsive Anne Robinson couldn't sneer on Watchdog that "many people have bought these cuddly little fellows called 'crocodiles', but look at these teeth. They could give you a very nasty scratch indeed. We rang the manufacturers but they said the design was nothing to do with them. Typical."

If you really want an animal, get one of those Japanese robot dogs - a non-barking non-chasing non-crapping one. And if you still get fed up with it, you can always tie it up in a sack and chuck it in the nearest canal.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: When is a baroness not a baroness? Titles still cause confusion

Guy Keleny
 

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower