Tonight I went along for a secret meeting with some of my comrades to plan the glorious revolution in Barnet. As with all revolutions planned in England, there was a copious supply of tea and biscuits and much hot air expended. Perhaps the highlight of the evening for me was getting acquainted with our hosts dog. As I knocked on the door, I was greeted by loud barking and growling. As I entered, I realised said mutt was all mouth and trousers and was simply rather pleased to meet someone who might make a fuss of her. She immediately recognised me as someone with a soft spot for dogs.
The highlight of the evening was her rather insistent badgering for petting and scratches under the chin. This mutt was no spring chicken, an elderly lady, but in fine fettle. As we planned out the next stage of our plan to dominate the world, my mind couldn't help drift back to last night, when I'd watched the final of Crufts, after returning from five a side football. I had been about to jump in the bath when Mrs T told me that they were just about to judge the final. I am not really a love of dog shows, I prefer the three legged mutts that chase balls in Cressingham Park if truth be told, but I thought it may be fun. First out was the Rotteweiler. A fine specimin if ever there was one. I think the breed gets a bad press. Next out was a big fluffy thing, which was undoubtedly cute. Then we had the Irish Wolfhound, which was huge. Then it turned a bit silly with a poor old foxhound, who had been shaved to make it look like a beeny baby toy. Then we the large Standard poodle, shaved to look like a hedge. Next up was the pomeranian called Colin from Poland. I am not a fan of Pomeranians, but if I had to have one, I guess it would be cool to have one called Colin from Poland.
Then the judging began. The judge checked the teeth and the limbs. They then did a twirl. The thought occurred to me that in the olden days the best Wolfhound would be the one who ate the biggest wolf. The best rotty would be the one who ate the most people. I have no idea what the best Pomeranian would have to do, maybe being called Colin and coming over from Poland would be enough. I thought the Wolfhound should win. My missus said the Standard poodle would win. She was right.
Of all the things human beings do, perhaps Crufts is the most ridiculour. I say that as a dog lover. I guess the people who watch the shows love dogs, but it seemed that none of the doggies live with the owners. They are inbred to a ridiculous level, to ensure "perfect features". I wonder what sort of a life a Crufts winner has. Does it, like my comrades doggie tonight lounge around the house getting cuddles from every passing waif and stray? Or is it stuck in a pen, to be bred to produce the next generation of "best in show"?
The dogs look well groomed sure enough, they even looked quite happy, but I do wonder what Crufts tells us about ourselves. I have two mutts. They give me unconditional love, in exchange for dinner and walkies. They lounge about on the sofa's terrify the teenage kids friends and chase pussycats, dickiebirds and squirrels from out garden on command. The big one can catch treats thrown in his direction pretty well, the smaller one understands perfect English with a large vocabulary including "PUB", "Sausages" and "Where's your lead". You can learn a lot from dogs, especially if you have two of them.
Perhaps the most important thing you learn is that dogs bring out the worst stupidity in people. Sometimes this can be the stupidty of over kindness, where dogs are fed to death. Sometimes it is the stupidity of the weak ego, where insignificant men use dogs as "status symbols". Sometimes it is the stupidity of selfishness, where owners leave poo on the Highway. Sometimes it is the stupidity of cruel, where dogs are mistreated. Sometimes it is the stupidity of the weak character, where a puppy is bought for Xmas and is in the dogs home for new year. Perhaps it is the stupidity of newspaper editors who talk of "devil dogs" when it is plain to all that the dog was just the pantomime villain trapped in a freakshow house, with a bunch of dysfunctional idiots who are not fit to keep goldfish, let alone large predators.
Some dogs are truly nasty and dangerous, but invariably these have been kept by owners who have, for whatever reason, made extremely stupid choices in the decisions concerning the dogs welbeing (I am being polite, I am sure you know what I mean though).
When it comes down to it, most dog owners are kind, caring and responsible people who simply want to share some happiness with a friendly pet. Like driving a car, no one sets out on a journey hoping to run someone over. To drive a car, we need a license to show we are competent. We have to pay for the privilidge and if we don't we break the law. I happen to think that we should apply the same logic to dogs. I think it would be better for dogs and better for responsible owners. And I think if you display any of the traits of stupidity I mentioned above, you should be banned from keeping any animal for life.