Saturday, December 27, 2008

I've been watching and reading the numerous reports on the poverty-stricken abandoning their dogs with a mixture of distress and anger. It's costing too much to feed the dogs, they claim. Bollocks. Utter bollocks. Good, healthy dry dog food - complete, not mixer - can be bought loose in pet shops for about a pound a kilo. A kilo lasts for about a fortnight in the case of my own, admittedly small, canine associate, supplemented, of course, by whatever she can get off my plate. That's a pound for two weeks of uncritical adoration, and the distinct sense that not everything's completely buggered. Dogs are life-enhancers, but it's not one-way traffic. People who claim poverty need to look long and hard at their spending habits before abandoning the dog. How many of them spend a tenner a day on fags? How many complain about the price of their own food, but persist in buying pre-packaged crap and ready meals rather than buying ingredients and making it themselves?

15 comments:

Robin Carmody said...

Quite apart from the fact that many of these people have dogs to look "hard", and often actively discourage the dogs from being as friendly as they want to be. You can rest assured that rescues will have even more Staffies to attempt to rehome, and even more people wrongly thinking they're inherently and naturally aggressive, than they had before.

LF Barfe said...

Well, true. With the right upbringing, Staffies are wonderful, loving dogs, and brilliant family pets. But the sort of person who gets a Staffie to look hard isn't in the human race, as far as I'm concerned. I'm talking about people who are up to their eyes in debt, and regard the dog as a frivolous extravagance rather than a family member.

Robin Carmody said...

Out of interest, what sort of dogs (if any in particular) do you tend to associate with such people?

LF Barfe said...

I don't associate any particular breed with people who regard dogs as disposable, or as David Sedaris said of his family's alarming canine turnover, "Another day, another collar".

Robin Carmody said...

Where this sort of attitude is concerned, I've even heard of people dumbing Labradors and replacing them with Westies or Cavaliers because smaller dogs will apparently be "less trouble". Most of the time, they're far *more* trouble than Labs.

LF Barfe said...

Cavaliers are no trouble, but they don't live a long time, due to the inherent heart murmur. Westies can be buggers, though, and nobody but a fool took on a Jack Russell thinking it would be an easy option. The ultimate low-maintenance dog is, oddly enough, the greyhound. Apart from one decent walk/run a day, they spend most of the time sleeping. There are plenty of them in need of rescue, too. If I didn't live in a terraced house with a small garden, I'd have a couple of them.

Robin Carmody said...

God, yes, I think someone even got a Jack Russell in place of a larger dog because it would be easier! Unbelievable.

Did you see 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed' last year, which referred to the Cavalier issue. It certainly has made quite an impact.

Agreed about greyhounds. My uncle has one (used to have two) and he lives in a flat. Wonderful pets.

Matthew Rudd said...

Yes yes and thrice yes.

And you're right about Westies. They are absolute twats.

Get a Basset hound and life's purpose is fulfilled entirely. In fact, get four.

Robin Carmody said...

I wouldn't say *that* about Westies - it's just that they think they're much bigger than they are.

The one problem with Bassets, and it's a big one, is the grotesque way they've been overbred since ceasing to be working dogs.

Matthew Rudd said...

That's a myth. And yes, I did see the documentary.

Robin Carmody said...

So much surplus skin that some of them can barely move? That isn't a dog anymore, it's a breeding experiment.

As I said, they have excellent temperaments, and some of them do still look like dogs. They need very little exercise, but I prefer dogs such as greyhounds who (contrary to popular myth, as Louis says) need very little exercise for legitimate reasons.

Richard Brennan said...

I thought the Government was going to issue advice on dog ownership.

It would be nice if everyone purchasing a dog was required to take home an information leaflet on how to look after it and how to budget for looking after a dog. A stack could be kept under the counter in pet shops.

I think you have a very good point about spending habits as well. I'd add that many "knick-knacks" on windowsills are probably worth quite a bit, and people should sell some of that old china residing in glass cabinets before getting rid of family pets.

My family doesn't have a dog but we do have a guinea pig (one died) and two gerbils, and we're able to budget for food, hay, toys and treats despite belt-tightening.

LF Barfe said...

Sadly, I suspect that most people have no idea how much they spend until the credit card bill arrives. If I want to buy anything, I go home and think for a week about whether I actually need it. And on the subject of dogs, some of them are hard work. All of them are worth it, IMHO. Good work on the rodent front. I'm hoping my daughter wants all sorts of pets I can't justify for myself.

Apres la Guerre said...

While I'm hardly a fan of dogs, I find myself agreeing with practically every word you say. (Apart from the "life-enhancing" bit, obviously.)

Kecske said...

In my day most children used to learn exactly what was involved in looking after a dog or cat thanks to Blue Peter.

They even did recipes for home made dog chews as Xmas presents for your dog.

If you have or are planning on having children then a Labrador Retriever is perfect - but not a pedigree, unless you want to watch your dog haul itself round the field in agony from arthritis by the time it is 8.