Sunday, 12 April 2009

A dog Substitute

We went to West End for lunch (well, two of us had lunch and one didn't) and I got my tongue on four kids, not a bad consolation. Earlier I went for a walk in the woods. Tim got talking to an interesting man. He said I had a bit of greyhound in me, not the first time someone has said this. He then said Tim had some German in him, which is true. He obviously has an eye for spotting ancestry. On more careful inspection he thought Tim had some Northern Italian due to his tanned skin. It seems Tim is as much of a mongrel as I am. Tim and Mandy celebrated with Mandy-made pizza and red wine last night. He also suggested that I was a substitute for a baby. Tim let this one go through to the keeper but I read a more interesting response last night to the very same remark. 

I finished reading a book called "A Dog's Life" written by a first-time author called Boy, who happens to be the dog of Peter Mayle. For some reason, it is Peter Mayle's name on the cover. I guess it is because he is well-known and it makes the book easier to sell. (A reader recommended this book. I can't remember who but if you are reading, "Thank you. I enjoyed it.") Anyway, in the book they having a dinner party, when...

"Finally, having run out of hard news, she put forward the offensive theory that people have dogs as child substitutes. Misguided and discourteous, of course, but hardly original, and I thought the remark would receive the lack of attention it deserved.

I hadn't reckoned, however, of the effect of the monologue on the other half...At this point- inspired no doubt, by a surfeit of propaganda on the joys of fetility- he pricked up his ears and bit back. Good stuff it was, too, the gist of it being that many couples in these overcrowded times live in small apartments where dogs are forbidden. Desperate for companionship, the couple either buys a budgerigar or has a baby, depending on available cage space. Therefore, one could just as easily put forward the opposite argument that children are, in fact, dog substitutes. Have another drink. 

..Vibrating with emotion like a blancmange on heat, the earth mother fixed him a furious and incandescent eye. 'That's outrageous,' said she. 'Are you comparing my little Tommy with a budgerigar?'

..'Why not?' said he. 'They're both small. They're both noisy. They both spill their food. And they both have difficulty controlling their bowels.' All true of course, but not really what a mother wants to hear."

The result was she stormed out. This is certainly a different approach to the same situation. I have pointed it out to Tim and Mandy. We'll just have to wait and see if they adopt it next time it comes up in conversation. 

This photo is called, "tea and chocolate." It is a ritual in this house. The chocolate is 70% cocoa dark chocolate, which I never get because it isn't good for dogs and the tea is rooibos (red bush) from South Africa, which I sometimes get. Mandy and Tim learnt about it reading Alexander McCall Smith's series of books, "The Number One Ladies Detective Agency." They highly recommend the tea and the books.

Life is great when you have a good book to read written by a dog. 


Amber and Nala said...

I need to read that one! Sounds great. :) I also like the arguement that maybe kids can be substitutes for dogs...hey, why not? ;)


Suzuki said...

Happy Easter!

Don't furget to stop by my blog and check out my 100th post and enter the contest fur your chance to win some really cool prizes!

Big licks to you

Anna the GSD said...

Happy late Easter!

Mom said dogs are can't leave kids in the backyard or if you do, social services will come get this. I don't understand this, but humans find it funny.

Mom does call us their "kids". I like being a kid.

Juliet Colors said...

What a great ritual. Alex and I have a chocolate ritual every evening too. But the cats can't have any of that either, since it is bad for them too. I also like the tea and the books.

Funny how sensitive people can be about human kids vs. animal kids. You'll have to keep us posted on the reaction the next time the subject comes up.

Honey the Great Dane said...

Hi Ruby,

My humans get that comment all the time too! People are really strange - they can't understand if other humans decide not to have a baby - but decide to have a dog. They think it must always be because the dog is there INSTEAD of a baby - when actually, even if my humans had a baby, they would have had a dog too! It is totally different. It is like saying if you order a coffee, you can't order a cake too.

My human loved the story of the dinner party - it really made her laugh! What a great comment. She hates people who are really patronising about having babies and always telling other people that they MUST do it and that nothing is better...she says it is a very big commitment which you shouldn't do just because you "ought" to - and I'm certainly no substitute!!

That sounds like a cool ritual. My human reads those books set in Africa too! She really likes books where people get murdered and other people have to find out who and why...

Honey the Great Dane