Sunday, 18 July 2010

All Dogs go to Heaven

Guido and I once had a conversation about "dog heaven". His view of heaven was different to mine. He thought heaven was a pain-free, restful place where you get reunited with your family and friends. I hoped it was like a giant garden of fields and lawns and brooks, complete with tennis ball firing machine and autumnal trees with Bonios for leaves. Each version was equally valid because neither of us could prove the other wrong. It revealed how every dog's desires are different and how beliefs can change with age.

The reason for my remembering this conversation was because of an incident today. I was on my way home from Rouken Glen Park, heading along Canal Street in the back of my master's hatchback car, nodding along to the potholes and uneven road surface. From the panoramic window of the boot I can view the world rolling by. The car slowed and my master gave out an apologetic "Oh no". Looking to my left, on the opposite carriageway, a car was halted with its hazard lights flashing; a woman in grey jogging bottoms and an oversize white T-shirt was talking to three older people, writing down notes on a piece of paper; and, on the roadside edge, a female dog lay on her side, perfectly still, staring. This tan and white collie-cross would have looked asleep were it not for one detail: her pink guts exposed through her white underbelly. This dog was dead.

Now I've seen roadkill before: birds, rabbits, foxes, but never one of my own. It was the saddest sight I'd ever witnessed. Why had no one thought to cover her? This was mans' best friend. Does human decency only extend to humankind? 

A police car passed us, heading towards the incident, and stopped. The matter would be dealt with. Everyone would go on their way. 'It was only a dog'. I remembered the conversation with Guido and wondered what kind of heaven that dog would find herself in. A heaven without roads perhaps. 


Monday, 12 July 2010

Faux Paws

I went to a funeral today. An acquaintance of mine was getting buried at the pet cemetery. I only really went because I'd heard there was going to be a great buffet.

It was a sombre occasion. As the owner recited a moving eulogy in tribute to his dear, departed friend, my mind wandered. Looking around at all the headstones, I wondered just what was the acceptable time period between being a deceased and being a bone for the enjoyment of others. The answer to that question is apparently not ten minutes. I should probably have stopped digging when I hit the coffin but it's difficult to discern wails of grief and wails of anger when you've got your head ear deep in the ground. My invite to the reception was rescinded, which was a shame because all that digging had made me very hungry. Which also explains why I'm barred from the pet cemetery, or as I now call it the 'all-you-can-eat' buffet. "Burp!"

Sorry! Sometimes they come back.

Speaking of bad taste, I wanted to join the Whiskas Kitten Club until I discovered it wasn't a new flavour. Those advertisers should make things clearer.  

Friday, 9 July 2010

Rizza's "Hair of the Dog" - not available at any good stockists

Rizza is another one of my pals. He's nuts. A Staffordshire bull terrier driven by two things: the desire to 'doggy' every female he meets (including me, but I decline consistently) and his money-making 'schemes'. His grand plan is to raise enough cash to hire his own dog walker so he can go to a doggy brothel. I told him I didn't think such things existed. He replied, "There's got to be. If lap dancing clubs exist then there must be lapdog dancing clubs too." So far his schemes have raised nothing but incredulous eyebrows. I say good luck to him. You have to have a goal in life. Maybe by the time he's a success they'll have invented dog Viagra too.

A recent brainwave he had was the plan to set up a website for conveyancing unwanted dogs. He figured pups were being abandoned in cardboard boxes all over the place yet demand for pups was so great that someone was willing to break into the Cardonald Cat and Dog home to steal them to sell them on. So why not match up these two customers and take a cut of the transaction in commission. He smirked, "The unwanted pups are already boxed up. Keeps the costs down!" I wanted to help but scruples and ethics aren't part of his vocabulary so I told him I only blogged. I'd give him a mention but I couldn't help with website design. If anyone wants to help him, remember a dog is a life not just a pecuniary transaction. That's all I'm saying.

Another scheme he thought up concerned a new drink product. He got the idea from his football-mad owner, a delightful man whose wardrobe appears to consist only of St. Mirren football shirts, replete with ketchup stains across the stomach plateau. Rizza noted every morning before feeding him, his owner would take a drink from the fridge and exclaim "A little hair of the dog," before slurping down the contents. Now Rizza didn't know what was in the drink, except the dog hair part, but that wasn't going to stop him inventing his own version. The plan was for all of us the bring our hair castings over to his house and then help him fill the bottles, washing the hair inside the only way a dog can. I got to use a funnel because I'm a lady. The boys should have used one too. Their aim is pathetic. They wasted so much. His owner was furious (and drunk, not a good combination). I feared he would drown us in the pond, until I remembered we drank it all.

Unfortunately, the scheme failed. Sales were not good. "Piss poor" as he put it, which is mild compared to his usual language. Maybe someday one of his schemes will pay off. I'll keep you updated.

(I wanted to include a photo of Rizza but he wouldn't let me - for tax reasons. He's doesn't want the tax man to know what he looks like.)

Sunday, 4 July 2010


I met my friend Guido again this afternoon while on my walk. We meet quite often. He's a ten year old golden Labrador retriever and a retired guide dog. He doesn't say it that way. He says "Guide dog, retired" but he's old and talks funny. I think it's because of all the training he got in his youth.  

Unusually, today he was excited, with a happy bounce in his step. I figured he must be on new medication because normally he's wincing from the pain in his hips but I was wrong. He was happy because he'd found a purpose: he was going to apply to university. The vet school at the University of Edinburgh are looking for 20,000 Labrador retrievers for a study examining how diet and exercise reflect on a dog's susceptibility to illness. He thought he had a great chance of getting in. "Imagine me, a mature student!" 

Now I like Guido. He's got some great stories from his work, getting into places us normal dogs can't, like restaurants and 'Tesco'. He also once saved my life, barking at me to stop before I ran onto a road, later explaining the "dangers of physical squishing that can be bestowed by buses". I owe him big time. However, sometimes, he can be a depressing soul to be around. Let me explain.

Guido worked as a guide dog for seven years. He was dedicated to the work and devoted to his 'boss'. He gave the man the best years of his life. Then on his ninth birthday, a fresh young graduate appeared, still wet behind the ears, and Guido got his P45. Still reeling from the shock, he was then hit by another blow. Guido's boss couldn't look after him for his retirement and he was going to be rehomed. Being made jobless and homeless are not the kind of presents you hope for on your birthday.

A lovely, elderly couple took him in. They adore him. He gets far more treats than I ever do, even though I beg nicely and occasionally dip my face into their pockets. He gets the best medicines for his eyes and arthritis but deep down you can see the pain isn't just physical. He knows his best years are behind him. He has lost his way, which is a shame for a guide dog, retired. 

So I make it my job to cheer him up with gentle teasing, gossip and tales of my latest pigeon encounters. I can usually get him to crack a smile, then the tail wags and we share a laugh.

He thinks I'm silly because I don't know what work is. I call him square because he's so health and safety conscious. He might not be able to see me properly but he's still got a good nose and can tell exactly what I've been rolling in.

My problem now is how do I tell my friend that he won't be accepted into the Edinburgh study - it's for puppies less than one year old. I don't want to send him on another age-related spiral of depression. We could falsify his CV but I don't think he'd be able to pass the medical. I mean these are vets we're talking about. They're going to spot the age difference right away, even if they're students. What should I do? 

Say nothing. I know with his eyesight he won't be able to read this for himself. I want everyone to promise me that they won't read this blog entry out to him. Promise me. Cross your heart! Don't hope to die though. I need all the readers I can get.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

You Beauty!

The other day I met a collie wearing false eye lashes. She looked fantastic. Best in show! So then I wondered what other enhancements a dog could get away with. 

We could start with our nails: false nails, doggy nail polish, the occasional rhinestone stud. Shopping malls could have drop-in salons, where each dog sits round a counter offering their paws to the nail technician for beauty enhancement. It wouldn't be very practical, given we have to walk on them afterwards, but imagine the "feel good" factor arising from the beautification. We'd spend all day begging just to show off our nails (and to pay for it).

Boots could carry a range of dog cosmetics, K-No.9, tested on animals for animals, and advertise them with the song, "Here come the dogs (woo-oof, woo-oof, woof, woof, woof)", carrying a montage of shots of various breeds enjoying their new look, finishing with a quizzical look from a jealous cat. Suddenly every dog would have an AdCard, waiting for the £5 off voucher promotion to stock up on their favourites.

I don't think I'd wear lipstick though. My lips are quite thin. I'd spend all day licking it off. Flavoured lipstick would be fun though. Pigeon flavour. Yum!

When we get old we could use "Just for Dogs" to hide the grey. There's a whole range of products we could use. Tigi, Fudge, Joico and Lanza are all brilliant. I've met them all. At obedience class. Their coats were smooth and lovely and bounced gently as they walked. Imagine my surprise to discover they had each invented their own hair product range. That's the circle I move in (round the hall). I must get a proper career. Being a pet just doesn't get you noticed!