It’s a dog’s life

Jul 18th, 2010 | By | Category: Personal Columns

“There is a terrier running round and round in circles and barking in the front garden”.

Alberto Contador was trying to escape the attentions of Andy Schleck in a Pyrenean stage of the Tour de France and the interruption was not welcome.

“It must belong to someone.  It will find its way home”.

Three hours later.  “There is a little brown terrier running round a tree in the cathedral graveyard barking at the tree”.

It was not hard to guess why.  A black and white stray cat that lives in the close sat on a limb of the tree looking contemptuously down at the terrier, which was making repeated runs at the trunk – getting no more than eighteen inches off the ground.

“Get a lead.  We’ll move the dog away from the tree; the cat will come down and escape; and the dog will go home”.

The cat curled up and went to sleep. went to sleep.  Releasing the dog, it took up its station beneath the tree once more.

“Let’s leave it.  It will go eventually”.

Dog Another three hours later.  The cat has gone.  The dog has taken shelter in the cathedral porch, at a danger of being anthropomorphic, it looks very sad and very lonely.  It follows us as we walk along and comes home with us.  What are we to do?  We already have two dogs.

The final scene of a 1990 BBC television drama comes to mind: a quarter of a million refugees stand on the Moroccan coast looking at Gibraltar.  The European Commissioner handling the situation is an Irishwoman; the Irish are ‘good guys’ in world politics, an Irish commissioner would surely make the right decisions.

Faced with a sea of refugees, she refuses to allow them to cross into Spain.  The leader of the refugees offers that the Africans will come and be pets for European families; the commissioner is advised that the annual expenditure on pets in Europe is larger than the annual income of many Africans.

It was, and remains, a profoundly moving drama. As rich countries ponder their successive financial crises, and governments protest that there is no money to help poor people in their own countries, (despite finding billions for bankers), the people who will disappear from the picture are the poorest of all, those who would have a better quality of life if they came to Europe to live as pets.

None of which answers the question of what to do with the dog.  Any offers?

Leave a comment »

  1. He looks like the ghost of Greyfriar’s Bobby 🙁

  2. Unfortunately, the muddy pawprints on my trousers and pee on the kitchen floor are not ghostly. It’s going to a shelter if the Gardai have no owner looking for it.

  3. Ian, I hope Katharine passed on the news that I rang the Pound at 8.30pm (ish) and left a description of the dog on their answerphone, I also rang the local Gardai and told them about the dog just in case anyone is looking for him. I really hope his people are looking for him, he is very forlorn ….

  4. Ah go on. You know you want to? He’ll be company for the other two, and you can’t chuck him out once he has chosen you!

  5. It is a ‘she’ not a ‘he’ and is on heat.

  6. Even better. You’ll have the house filled with new friends in no time?

  7. The dog warden came – a lovely man with a real care for animals. The dog has to be allowed five working days at the shelter and then they try to place it through Dogs Trust; if no-one wants it, I said I would take it back.

    He says it has traces of having worn a collar and thinks it was turned loose. Its colour description is ‘brindled’ – a wonderful word.

  8. I’m delighted to hear that. I hate to think of dogs being put to sleep for no good reason.

    If she does come back to you, you even have a name for her – Brindle.

  9. The Boss, who has gone to Vienna for three days, phoned at lunchtime to inquire what I had done with the dog and to be assured it would not be put down.

    If it returns, in recognition of the amount of piddle on the kitchen floor, I had thought of calling it Pee in honour of that great Irish politician.

  10. I thought your dogs were quite tall in the leg Ian….If Brindle is on heat Ian I’d hide all the boxes and steps and things short dogs could stand on!!!!!!!! Be an interesting ltter of pups though!!!!!

  11. She is safely in the care of Kilkenny County Council. The warden said that she could not be spayed until she was out of season and, had she been able to be spayed, and I had taken her to the vet and the person who had owned her had claimed her, they could have sued me!

Leave Comment