An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Sunday, September 18, 2005
ST on Dogs
Dogged, hounded and harassed: I want your mutt banned
When I’m minister, I’ll ban dogs. I’d ban their irresponsible owners, but there are probably some constitutional issues there, so the dogs will have to take the rap.
All right, those mutts with a purpose other than the validation of their owners’ egos would be allowed stay. Guide dogs, sheep dogs and the occasional faithful retainer of the elderly would be granted a dispensation.
Owning a dog used to be a strictly utilitarian matter, except for the extremely wealthy. Unfortunately, economic prosperity didn’t just bring global travel and branded wine to the masses, it brought the ubiquitous terrier.
Just think about the word — terrier. A mongrel canine bred to kill rats and to keep foxes trapped in their lairs until the hounds arrive for the kill.
They owe their existence to their ferocity, redundant energy, and to what the Jack Russell Terrier club of America fondly calls their ceaseless aggressiveness. Domesticity has robbed them of their traditional prey, and so the delicate calves of pedestrians or cyclists have become their quarry.
The lowly position in society of those who use their feet for transport explains why the extermination of these four- legged terrorists is not on the political agenda. Anyone in a position of power has a very large car, which they may not even drive themselves.
So the disenfranchised community of “mothers with buggies” are left to deal with the problem. As for cyclists — well, the Establishment assumes that in order to ride a bike in this country you must be a green vegetarian or bonkers, and therefore you don’t count.
Oh all right, a recent incident has indeed tipped me over the edge. I was becoming accustomed to running the gauntlet of unsupervised dogs on my road. I’d have loaded the two into the double-buggy and we’d be going along, lost in thought and admiring the sky. From the doorsteps, some misbegotten mutts might cast a malevolent but lazy eye toward us.
But there was one who made a practice of sneaking up behind me and launching a frenzied bark attack. He must have been satisfied with the result. I’d jump several feet, arms in the air, shrieking with fright. I’d turn on him, hurling abuse, and he’d usually retreat, throwing in a few last yips just to prove to himself that he was great.
I began to keep stones in my pockets and edgily checked my rear as we approached his domain. An escalating game of chicken began.
I saw him coming last week and assumed what could only be described as an aggressive stance. Poised with my stones, eyes narrowed, I called out a warning. Bring it on, he said. And went for me. The bastard. Like tribal warriors, we relied chiefly on noise. He barked, I screeched. But then he went for the canine equivalent of the jugular — my unprotected ankles.
The babies joined in the racket and I was forced to act as any mother would in such a dangerous situation. I threw the infants between me and the dog. Reversing around the buggy at high speed with the miniature monster in hot pursuit, I screamed for the owner to emerge and save me. Eventually she appeared and after some considerable effort banished the brute into its garden.
Did she apologise on behalf of the dog? Enquire after my health? Comfort the crying babies? No. She casually advised that simply ignoring the dog would ensure my safety. Isn’t it great when people point out that your troubles are entirely self-inflicted? I went home and burst into tears.
While reporting the offending animal might appear to be the answer, I don’t want to be tarnished with the informer stigma. Besides, when feeling energetic, the dozen other mongrels on the road take their turn to join in the chorus of aggression that greets our daily excursion. I have encouraged my husband to swerve at speed as he motors by, but sadly assassination is not in his nature.
So a general ban on this public menace is the only realistic solution. The non-dog-owning public would soon appreciate a world free of the wretched curs and their faeces. Vested interests like postmen, political canvassers and delivery men would present favourable reports to Oireachtas committee hearings.
Certainly, those people who get labradors instead of having children would complain. But I have little sympathy for them. The more affectionate breeds are intensely social and leaving them unaccompanied all day, while their yuppie owners are out working, is simply cruel. Similarly, the muttonheads who specialise in breeding particularly vicious strains, such as pit bulls, deserve lobotomies.
The non-working dog is, regardless of breed, of equal genetic relation to the primitive wolf. Irrespective of training and socialisation, the dog will at an appropriate but unpredictable opportunity revert to its natural instinct and lash out at an unsuspecting human or sheep.
It takes a particular kind of fool to breed a wolf, but this is happening in Ireland. Faced with such increasing levels of irresponsibility, intervention of the legal kind is a necessity.
If the human requirement for pets must be sated I submit that the cat is the desirable option. Those who object are clearly misogynists. Cats possess female characteristics of intuition and non-verbal communication, bestowing upon them an air of superiority which unnerves the insecure.
The lesser person comforts themselves with the lesser intellect of the dog. It is time for this tyranny to end. Miaow.
*Update*: Two changes from the original copy to comment on. This line didn't make the grade but here it is for your amusement. After the bit about important people in cars I had: "On occasion they might vaguely hear a hysterical yap from the left front wheel. But it’s not loud enough to drown out the voice in their head assuring them that they are far too important to concern themselves with the source of the irritant."
and an Eats shoots and leaves alert. My version referred to bicyclists as "Green, vegetarian or bonkers" (i.e. member of the Green party) but it appeared as green vegetarian or bonkers. posted by Sarah | 16:35 7 comments
Dogs are the original alpha males, they cringe like mongrels (literally) before those who dominate them and treat all others as meat or fun. They key here is not to turn your back and retreat from any dog on a first meeting. If you have to retreat do it facing the dog and don't letter the little fecker get the upper hand.
An alternative approach is to deliver to every dog you meet for the first time the most savage beating of their lives (preferably with a large birch stick) and leave them cowering in fear. This has alway worked for me :-)
Enjoyed that :-) - and I agree totally (even though we did have a mutt when I was young). As our own children grew we bravely resisted the enormous pressures put on us by our youngest girl to get a dog. Dogs have no place in suburbia. BTW - did you see the documentary on the big business it is in NY offering Dog Walking services in Central Park etc. Wealthy folk have dogs in their apartments and pay to have them collected and walked. (And the dogs probably get psychiatric therapy!)
We had been blogging trying to find how our world sees dog pile. It has been a lifeline for us. Your site provides some of the best examples of this sort and we will bookmark yours. Another one we found was and appears to be related to yours is dog pile site/blog. It pretty much covers dog pile related stuff.Post a Comment