|Dogs: cute, maybe, but they don't know the meaning of Andrex - even if|
they feature in the advertisements.
"I can't stand dogs," he said.
"I'm not sure," said I. "But I know what you mean."
Across the road a man emerged walking his dog. Right on cue, I thought.
"They're pack animals," Andy said.
"Man's best friend," I replied.
"I don't believe that; they just go where they're fed."
"Cats more so..."
"I hate cats too."
"I'd prefer a dog to a cat."
"Why own a dog? They're so much grief. Everything revolves around the dog. If you go out you have to ask yourself 'shall we bring the dog or leave it here?' and if you go on holiday, you've got to find somebody to look after it or put it in kennels. It's like having a baby for 15 years. People who own dogs need to feel wanted."
Andy had picked the right day to discuss dogs; there were loads of them: big ones, small ones, some in twos, some in threes, Tatsfield was a dog owners' paradise.
"The thing I hate about dogs is the smell," I said. "A kind of doggy smell, a damp smell, that suddenly hits you, it wafts past. I remember once, when I visited a social club near Derby, that the man who owned the club offered me a lift to the station. He warned me that he kept dogs and that the car was a bit of mess, but it wasn't the mess I was concerned about, it was the smell. For the whole journey I must have been pulling an awful face. All I wanted to do was pinch my nose."
"And every day you've got to take it out for a walk, whatever the weather, even when it's pouring down."
"Yes, and when you get back home, soaking wet, the dog shakes himself all over the carpet."
"And these days, you've got to pick up their turds too.
"That's the most off-putting bit."
"Yes, the feel of a hot, squashy turd through a plastic bag."
"Actually, the worst thing about dogs is that they don't wipe their arses."
"I've never thought of that before, but you're right, they don't."
"Imagine if you had to do it for them. Now there's a job I wouldn't relish."
"The dog wouldn't like it either."
"Think for a moment if humans acted like dogs. Imagine being at home, with nothing on. You answer the call of nature, you don't wipe your arse and then go and sit on the sofa. That's what it's like being a dog."
"Or doing that thing dogs do when they pull themselves along on their arses."
"Our respective wives wouldn't be impressed."
"No, they wouldn't."
"That's a good point, though."
"I've never thought of it before: that dogs never wipe their arses."
"Well, they can't, we'd have to do it for them and that's far worse than picking up their turds through a plastic bag."
"What time is it?"
"Time we got out of here I think."
We mounted our bikes and left Tatsfield and it's barking dogs behind us. We cycled past the desolate Reptile Zoo and were greeted by the sound of dogs, or was it wolves, crying and yelping. I wondered if a Komodo dragon was on the loose, but figured that a reptile zoo in Tatsfield would be limited to grass snakes and other less dangerous animals.
Merry Christmas to all our readers!