Every man and his dog (and I use that phrase completely literally) has been trying to convince me, since I moved to the middle of nowhere, to get a dog. They’re great companions, they say, you discover the countryside like you never have before, they add. They also cite that they make great playmates for our children.
Let me tackle the dog issue once and for all and address these points and a few others that I can think of that are pertinent:
- Great companions. I have a wife, two children, a brother, lots of friends, Facebook, twittter, skype and email. Why would I want a dog? You can’t have a chat with them (well, you can, but that way lies madness). You can’t play multiplayer with them and as far as I know no dog has gone beyond the rank of private in Call of Duty 4. You can go to pub with them, but if you’re using lower life forms to justify drinking alone then you have other issues besides the need for companionship.
- Discover the country side. This is undeniably true. But I, personally, don’t want to run the risk of my pooch straying onto some deranged, hermit, inbred farmers barn and getting the twin barrels of a (probably erratically maintained) shotgun in may face just because my dog fancied sniffing the bottom of another dog or peeing on previously unpeed on post. You know, get a map.
- Playmates for children. That’s my job. If I have to rely upon an animal – an animal that has teeth for grinding up meat and bone – to babysit my children then I need to reorganize my childcare arrangements.
- Responsibility. I don’t need the hassle of either organsing kennels or palming my mutt on someone else because I fancy popping to Paris for a weekend.
- Poo. If I owned a dog I would feel a responsibilty to pick up their poo so that other people needn’t use their shoes for the same purpose. But I am not prepared to do that. I have spent years changing nappies and dealing with the poo of my children and I am never going to do it for a dog. I have this picture in my head, a picture of an alien survey ship looking down on the world and one of the aliens saying: ‘That’s what I was saying! The bipeds follow the quadrupeds and pick up their stools, so they must be the lower life form, or a subservient class. But I have tried to communicate with the quadrupeds and have gotten nowhere…this planet blows, let’s go somewhere else…’
I am not against dogs. Dogs are cool, they make tremendous working animals (which Is when, I think, they are secretly happiest) and some breeds are exceptionally beautiful animals. But you know what? I have an Xbox Live membership, I don’t need a dog.