Ruffing It

Keiko, blessed be she, is very fond of dogs. To be exact, she is fond of the West Highland Terrier, or Westie. To be even more specific, she is fond of the idea of giving a home to a Westie, as in reality we do not have a pet to put a name to. We do however have Westie calendars, placemats, dangly earrings, socks with Westie prints, prints with Westie socks and a book of potential names for cute Westie puppies.

The Westie, is a dog that looks strikingly similar to yours truly with white beard, tufted hair, a small nose and pink ears. The only difference, as far as I can tell, being the fact that I wear glasses and Westies do not.

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In the “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dogs” weekly magazine that Keiko subscribes to, the Westie is described as “an endearing little tyke with narry a bad feature.” The descriptors themselves sounding rather appealing until it is realized that “tyke” means “mischievious, stubborn and recalcitrant,” – again rather uncannily like the old codger whom she lives with anyway. Why would she want two of us? Am I not enough of a challenge?

In my opinion, parrots or cockatoos are much more suited to my temperament. I used to pass a caged cockatoo on the way to work in the mornings. It always managed to squawk a cheerie “Ohayo” at me and seemed a happy and well disposed being. The African Grey Parrot is a great mimic and can, apparently, copy the sound of a liquid gurgling and glugging its way out of a bottle. A parrot features in the Tintin comics as Captain Haddock’s unruly sidekick. I spend hours on youtube watching the cute antics of birds bopping and dancing, squawking and chirping, and occasionally swearing at their humans. All good fun. And all good reasons to consider actually having one in the house.

Chameleons are also a possible alternative. They can be housed in an aquarium and kept warm with a heating light. Bugs and insects can be caught and fed live to the famously darting tongue that moves at a speed beyond perception to the human eye. We are slow as turtles in comparison. A friend on mine used to have a chameleon. Note the past tense. The little bugger escaped his (or her) aquarium, changed colour to suit the mat it landed on and was promptly squished by my friend’s wife’s bare feet as she did not see the cunning changeling underfoot. Needless to say, there were squeals and squeaks of mortification, disgust and horror. Also, needless to say, the aquarium now stands empty.

But, dogs it is.

I’m not too sure though. Who do you think would have to get up earlier in the morning to take the beast out for a poop? Who do you think the creature would have as the poop carrier…. and who do you think would be in charge of disposing said excrement? – Hands up….anyone?

Also, as highly social beings, dogs need lots of company and almost constant validation of some sort. My brother was constantly surrounded by his Rottweiler and German shepherd. They would follow him wherever he went seeking his gaze, appreciatively slobbering at being called “good boys” and protectively growling at any passers-by who dared to even glance at him. Dogs are attention sponges. They love to love us and consequently when we are absent the lack of love hurts. I pity the poor pooch left behind in the house for the day as the humans head off for work, school, shopping or play. Apparently they have no concept of time with a minute away being equally as excruciating as a day away. Lets not do this to our best friends shall we?

So. A decision regarding dogs. We can get all kinds of cutesie paraphernalia to show our love for the species and type. We can sing songs in praise of, and write fondly about…but not to have in the house as long as we both have to be away for most of the time.

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