Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Balls to Osborne!

Today we had the Emergency Budget and the main headline was VAT rising to 20%. Well, thank you George Osborne! He obviously is not an animal lover. It's okay for humans as they don't pay VAT on their prescriptions but did he even paws* to consider the dog nation's health? He's taxing our sick! Vet bills are expensive enough. How many of us are going to end up back at the rehoming centres, practising looking cute, while stifling our (kennel) coughs and wheezes, just because our owners couldn't afford the vet bills? Don't get sick is all I can suggest.

It's starkly unfair that dogs should be penalised this way. It's not as if we were being lent money by major banks to buy luxury kennels and then defaulting when we couldn't afford the repayments. You don't find shows like "Kennels Under the Hammer" on the BBC daytime schedules now do you. "We've got a new litter on the way so it was ideal".

Prescriptions are not the only thing affected by the tax hike. Tennis balls are going to be more expensive too. I love tennis. Every time the umpire calls for 'new balls' I nod in agreement. I applied to be a ball dog at Wimbledon but failed the interview when I refused to return the ball. I said to them, "It's my ball. I got there first." To them it sounded like "Growl", but in my defence I did have a ball in my mouth at the time. It wouldn't have been any use to the player anyway, all covered in my saliva. So now I have to watch it on TV. It would be great if my master got a 3D TV. All those free tennis balls coming out of the screen. I'd be in 'dog heaven'. I'd need to be careful though. Those players serve very fast. If I was hit in the face, the glasses might break.

My tennis ball craving is reaching new highs now that Wimbledon has started. It's like an addiction. If I don't get a new ball every day to destroy I get really barky. I've even resorted to stealing from my pals. I may have to get something for it from the vet before I get locked up or attacked. Maybe I'll get an instalment prescription - "1 x Dunlop tennis ball daily - Do Not Swallow - For External Use Only (to avoid carpet stains)". Apparently I'm barred from the chemist. Not just me. Every dog. Except old Guido, my retired guide dog pal. He kept his halter so maybe he could fetch my prescription for me.

One final comment for tonight: if this country's really "going to the dogs", when do I get my share?   

* that's how we spell 'pause' in dog english.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Sharing a Dream

This was me having a dream. You can't see my leg twitching or hear my muffled whimpers but you can imagine. I dreamt I was running in a field of long grass. That's a regular and favourite dream I have but this time something was wrong. As I ran, my coat was getting more and more sticky from a white froth on the grass stems. I couldn't understand where it had all come from because the grass was untrampled, except by me. If it had been the spit of Paisley neds, who gob everywhere, as is their habit, there would have been signs. The area would have smelled of tobacco, deep-fried food and chewing gum; the spit would have been tinged methadone-green; plus the section of grassland would have contained the burnt out remains of a bonfire or car. Speaking of which, if I may digress for a minute, I've never understood the desire to set fire to the Gleniffer Braes. Do the youngsters of today believe that that's how you smoke weed? Setting fire to dry grass and inhaling before scooting away on their kiddy quad bikes and motorbikes. Always motorised vehicles because pedal bikes require athleticism and don't come with built-in accelerant. Or is it, instead, to make their parents proud? So they can return home triumphant, bearing the smoke stains of victory, pointing to the hills and the plume rising across the sky, saying "Mum, Dad, look, I made that!" receiving the reply "Aye, very good, son, now stop arson about and get inside before the polis get a whiff of you".  

That conversation's probably never happened. Not in Foxbar. Not a lot of parents still together there. It's very animal kingdom. Anyway, back to my dream.

I licked off as much as I could, but it tasted bitter, disgusting. My stomach felt nervous and funny. I thought I was going to be sick. Then the truth hit me. It felt like I had butterflies in my stomach so the froth must have been caterpillar eggs. This required an urgent plan before they all turned into butterflies and my stomach exploded in a kaleidoscope of colour. I needed to eat as much grass as possible to feed the caterpillars so they would unattach from my stomach and I could release them and their silky trails. In my dream I woke up at this stage but I always remembered the feeling. Then I discovered that this is a dream that every dog gets at some point in his or her early life. 

So now you know too why dogs eat grass: to make them sick to get rid of the caterpillars. And when they're very sick, it's the butterfly wings beating that the vet is listening for when he uses his stethoscope. That is a fact!

Sweet dreams!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sick as a Dog

I've recently been giving credence to the phrase "sick as a dog". One day I was running about merrily with my friends across the Gleniffer Braes, the next it was poop and puke in equal measure. I wasn't even getting time to reach the newspaper at the back door. I'm so ashamed. My master had to change my bed three times. I think I'm over the worst of it now though. My grass therapy helped a little, though it wasn't pleasant for him when he had to poop scoop the watery results. Still, it gives him practice for when he gets his garden pond.

Now I'm left with smelly farts. They're so noxious, if I could bottle them, riot police could use them for crowd dispersal. They certainly clear the living room quickly enough. It's made my masters even more worried for their new carpet. With every release, I get a trip to the garden. If only I had more control over my wind, then I could use it to my advantage.

I don't know where it came from, my sudden illness. It may have been from the new food dispensers they've installed in the Robertson car park. They're square and black and have slots on each face to allow access to their contents. I love them. They're just the correct height to get my head neck deep. On sunny days they're always bulging. You don't need any money and last week they contained MacDonald's takeaways. The packs aren't always fresh or full but you never knock a free meal. My master isn't happy when I help myself. I need to give myself a head start because he chases me away from them. I don't think he wants me eating fast food. Hypocrite!

I don't know if any of my friends were affected. I've not been getting on my usual walks while incapacitated and it's not as if I can just ring them up on the old 'dog 'n bone', not that I have one. Not much use having a mobile when your coat hasn't got any pockets. And I'd rather carry a ball or a stick in my mouth. He's not going to throw an iPhone for me to fetch, now is he.

As dogs we like to keep our communications simple. Essentially, over a distance, we bark. We bark about the weather, the proximity of strangers and, of course, that bloody pigeon and what we'd like to do to it. It's what we do. That's our local 'network'. Dog owners know this and make allowances. But not so that cat lover from across the back fence. Oh no, she regards it as noise pollution and threatens to go to the council to get us all ASBOs. What a bitch!* I was really growling for a fight but my masters caved. Now my chats are restricted to before kiddy bedtime. So much for freedom of speech. Just as well I've got the Internet.

*No offence is intended to fellow girl dogs. The use of that term is strictly in the human sense.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Future's Bright

Another glorious, sunny day to bask in. It was hotter here than in Spain. My master took the day off to let me play in the garden. He even practiced papping me for when I get famous. I think this is my best side. What you can't see is the wood pigeon that calls me 'Muttley'. I'll stop him one day!

In response to Caro Ramsay's delightful request to join the Penguinette's Quiz team next year, I'll have to decline. Now that the literary world is aware of the wolf-in-a-hood disguise my big ears, big eyes and big teeth won't pass for haggis - except through a blender (which wouldn't be much fun for me).

Despite him earning a few sunny brownie points today, I have to say my master is not my best friend at the moment. He upset me with a discussion about pet cloning after viewing a recent science fiction film. He posited that if cloning and memory implantation were possible, the pet industry would be revolutionised. Imagine having a replacement identical pup on standby, waiting to be thawed out when your current companion either pays a final visit to the vet or meets an untimely end under a bus or an elephant; your loyal companion reborn with all the same traits he or she had before, except for the elephant footprints. Imagine the marketing: "Our dogs are not just for Christmas, they're for life!"

Then imagine how that would feel for us: the pain of discovering the puppy memories of your mother are not your own; the bizarreness of smelling old friends who suddenly appear younger and don't remember you. The dog world would collapse into a weird "Invasion of the Doggy Snatchers"-type scenario. Real dogs would have to pretend to be pod dogs to fit in. We'd have to practice that special howl so we could imitate the artificials. The loss of personal identity would be horrendous. Mankind, if you are to retain that second syllable, don't do it.

Of course, if you cloned cats in this way, bio engineered to be slower with blunt claws and no teeth, then that would be brilliant. A microwave meal for dogs. Catch it. Eat it. Wait five minutes until the machine goes 'ping' then start again. Yum! I'm salivating. I really fancy a Siamese for tea tonight. That would be 'purr-fect'!