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  • Writer's picturecchuttonwriter

Barking Mad in the land of the North Coast 500

Is the joy of having a dog really worth it? After all it means picking up after them and lets face it that is not the nicest job in the world. And what about the expense of the food bills not to mention vet bills, leads, collars, toys, anti flea stuff, yearly inoculations and insurance? Then there is the worry of when they are ill? And the walks in the freezing cold, wind and rain; after all summer can be very quick and even then it can often feel like autumn. In winter the walks are taken on dark dreich mornings and long freezing nights. What about toilet training these cute little puppies which for some reason always seems to be in the middle of a snow storm at stupid 'o' clock in the morning. Then joy of joy when said puppy chews your child’s favourite toy leaving your offspring in tears. Or worse still your teenagers favourite shoes or jumper and you have to listen to the woes of that for days, months or even years to come! Lastly we have logistics. Consider that family wedding, who is going to take care of it’s needs like walking, feeding and company. What about holidays or that day of shopping, then a meal or a meal and the cinema or anything that would mean you are away from home for more than four hours? So why in your right mind would you even contemplate adding a dog to your family?

Well financial I would be so much better off without one. All that expenditure above and that is without even considering the purchase price. Speaking of which what on earth is happening with the price of puppies during this pandemic? What are breeders thinking and indeed what are buyers doing? Are they all mad? Who can afford these ridiculous inflated prices of cross breed dogs that at one point before it became fashionable, could almost be given away? Because someone can afford to pay a high price for a dog does not mean they will make a good owner. And now I have to own up to watching dog programmes. I really am a dog person I suppose. All you have to do is see expensive pedigree dogs making their way into re-homing centres. You would be forgiven for thinking if people are prepared to pay such high prices they would take care of their investment but it doesn’t always happen like that. I know circumstances can change through no fault of their own but still. I can just see it in six months time rescue centres filling up with all these bewildered dogs wondering what they have done wrong. I hope I’m wrong.

I’m generally regarded as quite a positive person though. Ask anyone and they will tell you I can be a pain when all you want to do is sigh, be sad and generally look at the world through pessimistic eyes. I will be found frantically looking and finding that silver cloud amongst the grey. But even me with all my optimistic tendencies doesn’t come near to the mad, happy outlook of dogs. Personally I think it is as much their ability to make us laugh as it to give us love that feeds the need to have a dog. Their eternal buoyant outlook is as much a part of being a dog as breathing. Why else after you have two minutes before returned from a walk would they think there is an immediate chance of it happening again so soon; all because you have gone back to pick up the lead that has fallen on the floor? If you kick their bowl by mistake then; yes more food or a treat maybe on the cards! Or if you pick up a jacket; yes we are going to play in the garden or more walks. The same applies if you go near shoes, tissues as they are near the leads, shopping basket, not that you have every taken them to the shops but who knows maybe this will be the first time. Yes dogs always consider something good is going to happen.

It doesn’t seem to matter that they steal your food or bed or indeed smell out the house. Dog lovers seem to have a blind spot for it all. Dogs themselves affect our outlook. For example, this is what happened one year to us after losing one of those mottle bunch pictured above. A conversation started like this “Look at how bonnie our garden is. No beheaded tulips from tail whipping, no running track created through the grass, no dug holes or swashed plants. The garden is looking great. This is so sad we need a dog.”

So far we have had two mad mixes. One of which was so intelligent it bordered on madness and we never stopped laughing with her. The other was the perfect family dog well apart from selective deafness if grandad ever tried to talk to it. A couple of Irish wolfhounds, one of which had a taste for remote controls and mobile phones. Both were the laziest dogs I have ever met, unless of course a deer was around. As guard dogs forget it. Too much trouble getting up they would rather sleep thank you very much. We fell heir to a husky who could catch a bird in mid flight but wouldn’t go near a red car. Don’t ask me why I don’t think he knew either. And now we have our first wee dog. Only size doesn’t seem to make any difference to the amount of character wrapped up in her. Dandie Dinmont Terriers for some reason make you either laugh or smile when you see them. So there we have it again. The reason for living with dogs; they bring added pleasure, hilarity and exuberance into your life. I’m pretty sure if you were to look up the word joy and supplant it with the word, 'dog' all the definitions underneath would describe our canine friends perfectly.

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