Doggy devotion


Call it spring, call it an aching void of loneliness that people say you shouldn’t try and fill with strong drink, but there’s nothing like having a mutt. I was on Hampstead Heath recently for the very first time – along with the rest of north London – and it struck me hard: they do like a dog up there [Supply own joke. Go on, really go to town]. 

We were promenading in the balmy sunshine/shivering under cloud cover and my friend observed it’s like a dog supermarket. Every breed is represented, bruising great Newfoundlands, nervy Labradors, delusional Dachsunds (‘I can cope with long grass. Stop staring, dammit’) and those dear little dots, Malteses. You could just take a wander, exam the specs of each (fat/idiotic/adorable), decide which you wanted and then go and order it. Which technically makes it more like a dog Argos, of course, unless you’ve got a large net, a chloroform-soaked wad and a stone for a heart.

The very fact that you can see many different breeds shows how very much classier Hampstead is than chez noo. Round our way, the dogs are distinguished by bigness, hairiness and love of barking. The waters of our canine gene pool are, to say the least, muddy. Thus, there’s a big dog next door who barks once – woof – about twice a day. I think he’s keeping his powder dry for the big event: some as yet unforetold situation that will require a lot more woofs than yer average, ho-hum, non-eventy kind of a day. He wants everyone in the neighbourhood to know that by heavens, when that day comes he won’t be found wanting. Woof to the max. Goodbye walls of Jericho.

I heard a rumour that you can foster a dog from Battersea Dogs’ Home for a short time. If that’s true, wouldn’t it be great? If you were planning a weekend in the country, or a trip to the seaside, you could take some hound off with you and let them have a bound around. Or a scamper, if they’re tiddlers. But then, how to explain to them when you took them back on Sunday night? They’d hate you. It’d be like Oliver Twist, Bambi and Dumbo all rolled into one. With that sad bit from ET on top. This being nice business – complicated, ain’t it?


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