Pet food for thought

Nov 13 | 2015

Has it ever occurred to you that our place in the ecological chain might simply be to ensure the future of Gerbils (or pets in general)? Certainly not Homo sapiens, we seem to be doing a pretty good job of bringing our brief reign on earth to an end – and isn’t it ironical that Homo sapiens is Latin for ‘wise person’? Talking of reigns; are the Queen’s corgis her pet subjects?

I do apologise for finishing the previous paragraph with two entirely unrelated questions, but you might be aware from previous articles that one of my hobbies is rambling and I suppose I have just proved it! But there is a purpose because I am going to write around the subject of pets – including my daughter’s dog Zac, a Border Collie and with whom I spend a lot of time walking. This is also an excellent excuse for me to tell you about an amusing experience which we had recently - more later.

In a previous article I wrote about statistics, well here’s another one: apparently around 46% of households offer a home to a pet – so you might therefore conclude that this article is only going to be of interest to 46% of readers. Not true; I haven’t got a pet, although I would like one, but it’s just too inconvenient as we are not always around and it would therefore be unfair.

The point I would like to make is that although we think we are exceedingly intelligent, pets are really the clever ones. Take the cat for example, we offer it a comfortable home; we feed it; we clean it; we cuddle it; we talk to it; we consider it a close friend. It doesn’t have to earn a living; it has no worries; and it no longer has to hunt for food in order to stay alive but only for its pleasure. In addition, there are very few rats or mice present in our homes any more, so there is really no practical reason to have Tiddles in your house (I know there is a double entendre here but so be it!).

 Ever had a cat? They are great at telling you how nice you are and how much they appreciate being with you. Problem is that if you happen to bump into them outside of the home environment it is an entirely different matter:

“Hello Tiddles.”

“Clear off four-eyes – can’t you see I’m busy hunting for my own pleasure!”

Fascinating really but of course there are also pet benefits; an excuse for a walk for example. Which reminds me, I did say I would tell you about an experience that Zac and I had, so here it is.

Owing to an increasing propensity to procreate with not only other dogs, but almost anything from a beanbag to a bale of hay (which actually was the last straw) Zac was taken to the local vet in order to have two rather sensitive items surgically removed. My daughter told me to be careful whilst out walking because for an amount of time after having this operation testosterone levels actually increase. Interesting!

There we were in the heart of The Ashdown Forest, miles from anywhere with only the sounds of a chattering gang of sparrows and a very distant chainsaw, when I noticed two middle aged ladies coming towards me; one with a Springer Spaniel and the other with a rather cute little Yorkshire Terrier. Anyway, we had hardly begun to exchange pleasantries when Zac decided to upend the cute little Yorkie (perhaps mistaking him for beanbag!), I was mortified, but having had the presence of mind to put him on a lead I was able to drag him away saying: “Look I am very sorry about that, but he has recently had, you know, ‘the operation’.”

“It’s OK, I totally understand, don’t worry”.

“Apparently, for a while it actually puts up their testosterone levels …………

Then I heard myself saying – and never being one to let good taste get in the way of a joke:

…….. In fact, I’m thinking of having it done myself!”

Without missing a beat, the lady turned to her friend and said:

“You know, I think I might get Colin done!”

All three of us then collapsed in fits of laughter. I could still hear them giggling as they walked on into the distance, and until, finally, the only sounds were a chattering gang of sparrows and a very distant chainsaw. I must say that my overriding feeling was one of sympathy for poor old Colin, although whether the distant chainsaw was anything to do with it, I’m not quite sure.  Zac of course very soon lost his interest in all things carnal and now lives a life of celibacy – and by the way in case you’re interested I still remain intact.

Mind how you go!