Thursday, May 17, 2007

Man's Best Friend

Soccer lovers will no doubt be distressed to hear that, up until this week, I thought Jose Mourinho was a resort on the Costa del Fish’nChips.
But now I find that we have a deal in common, to whit, a Yorkshire terrier and that, most endearingly, he feels that it is important to him. I suspect his is an upper class pedigree sort whilst ours is a cross, probably with a bull-mastiff. This has given him, Joe not Jose, something of an attitude problem familiar to many with short legs and hairy bodies. He behaves somewhere between a canine version of Robert Mugabe and Mike Tyson. None the less, like Mourinho’s pooch (and, in Africa, Mugabe), he remains well loved.
The problem with Jose’s animal seems to be something to do with Britain’s archaic laws relating to doggy travel. For a nation of supposed dog lovers, they seem strangely at odds with the rest of Europe. So what’s new, you ask?
Here in France, where dog matters are of some importance, the passport takes 21 days to obtain, in Britain, six months.
Friends of ours wished to take their two dogs to Britain for a vacation. Both were micro-chipped and had all the paperwork required in Europe. But British rules said they needed to have injections not more than three days prior to travelling. It was the long holiday weekend here and no vets were going to be open so they explained the position to theirs during the week before.
“Ah, oui,” he says, “Bring them in.” “But you don’t understand, it cannot be more than three days before we travel – and you will be closed.”
“I understand perfectly. We give them the injections – and date the certificate the day of your departure. The British rules are nonsense.”
Peter the Great is alleged to have said “Now I know men, I prefer dogs.” I’m always suspicious of these pithy ‘bon mots.’ Who, for instance, was standing around, notebook in hand, to record his better sayings. But Pete the G., along with Mourinho, and myself are all fellow travellers. We all think dogs are good.
Not so a columnist in The Guardian newspaper recently. He wrote a wordy diatribe concerning their, to him, disgusting habits. Like a good many columnists now in what used to be a decent paper, he was on the outer fringe of stupidity. As with children, it’s the owners, or parents, who are responsible for any of their failings. What one sows, one tends to reap.
Which brings me to Labrador retrievers. I’m told, these are one of the most popular breeds. I can only think that 99.9% of owners have never had one before.
I’ve had several and, whilst accepting that they are lovable, safe with children and jolly good swimmers, they are, perhaps, imbued with more anti-social habits than any other breed. They drool, they will eat, or attempt to eat, anything in sight, their tails can clear a coffee table at one swish and they are determined to convert any non dog lover into a fan by paying them extra special attention, drooling jowls and all.
It’s safe to say that, if you own one, only your true friends will come to visit.
We’ve just acquired one. His name is Barclay and we’re looking forward to a drastic reduction in the number of uninvited guests in the future.

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3:15 am  

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