November 27, 2013

Other people’s off lead terriers and Milan Kundera



All right, this is not jolly upbeat blog tonight.  Anyone of a delicate sensibility, leave now.

While the following is not my malfeasance, it is malfeasance of a mind-boggling variety and I’m still brooding about what I should have done or what I could do if it happens again.  Hellhounds and I turned into the churchyard this morning behind an elderly gentleman and a terrier.  An off-lead terrier.  Hellhounds and I lingered to let this unwelcome pair get ahead of us.  Only a little smoke was coming out of my ears at this point.

As we strolled along the terrier . . . stopped and had a crap.  Gentleman was well in front paying no attention.  He turned back in time to see terrier finishing its crap . . . and began to turn away again.  I had just enough presence of mind to say, I hope you’re going to pick that up.  Oh yes, said this piece of walking faecal matter, I usually do, I just have to go get a bag, thank you! —cheerily.  And walked away.

I stood there I think literally with my mouth open, hellhounds waiting patiently beside me.  Fortunately the terrier was not mayhem-minded because I would have been in no shape to fend off barrage and foray.  Okay, what should I have done?  I did have enough time to have offered him a frelling bag out of my lavish store . . . and I didn’t (remember I had to make my feeble, as-usual-short-of-sleep mind up quickly) because I didn’t yet know what kind of a caprice the off-lead terrier might manifest, and Darkness is in one of his touchy moods lately.  I could have said, yo, you miserable stinking lice-brained toe-rag, pick that up with your bare hands if you have to, before I loose the forces of Darkness and Chaos on you.  I could have said, I want your name and address so I can frelling report you to the frelling dog warden.**

I did none of these things.  I stood there.  With my mouth open.  Till Mr Disease Bacterium toddled away with his terrier behind him.  And his terrier’s pile of fresh crap left farther and farther behind him.***


People are amazing.  Not in a good way.

But speaking of dogs, as I so often am, a forum member recently put this in her tag line (if it’s tag line I mean):

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.” —Milan Kundera

Say what?  This was another mouth-open occasion.†  I copied and pasted this interesting remark several days ago to ponder upon.  Now I adore my assortment of furry catastropes and as a pleasant fantasy I can see this as a tag line but . . . has Kundera ever met a real dog?  They don’t know jealousy?  He can’t have lived with more than one dog and watched them knock each other out of the way for the petting hand or the bit of raw liver or the best place on the sofa.††  He’s never watched the established regime watch beady-eyed every scrap of attention and/or food the young interloper receives.†††  Dogs don’t know discontent?  Listen to the yelping and baying if you get home later than they were expecting you to take them for their next hurtle.  Darkness goes more for the enigmatic, but Chaos has a reproachful look that would melt case-hardened steel.‡  And evil?  Eh.  I belong to the love-wins camp of who God is.  Evil is evil, but it’s also ultimately transitory.‡‡  Although I agree that dogs don’t know evil.  They live in the moment—which is why they are such good company on a sunny hillside—but their focus is on themselves.  You are a means to an end.  Sure they love you.  You’re still a means to an end.  They cooperate with us and our weird ideas about leads and harnesses and coming when called and not eating garbage because we’ve made it worth their while.  We’ve spent forty thousand years breeding them to be dependent on us and to believe they like it that way.  They’re still mortal, and jealousy and discontent kind of go with the package as soon as your brain evolves beyond the medium-sized ganglion stage.

Maybe I’m not in a very good mood.

Maybe I should go sing.

* * *

* Sigh.  It would be the first footnote that I cut, and forgot that I cut.  I can’t face changing all the icons from the hysteria-prone WordPress window again.  Sorry about that.  THERE IS NO FIRST FOOTNOTE.

** Yes we do have one.  She’s overworked. She covers like half of Hampshire.  I went into this not long ago.

*** And if I see him again, what am I going to do?  Good question.  Since the terrier seems relatively harmless I can perhaps risk being somewhat . . . tenacious.  What I wonder, because the creep is clearly by his accent posh, and picking up dog crap is for the lower orders^, if I asked for his name would he give it to me?  How unplugged from reality is he?  Does he have any notion of social responsibility and/or guilt?  Or would he expect the dog warden to recognise his class superiority, pull her forelock, and go away?

I should call the cops.  Someone on the non-emergency line could at least tell me what my options are.

^ In which case he needs to bring his batman with him on terrier excursions.

† Although at least there’s no need to call the cops.  The asylum for people who are too sweet and hopeful and kind to live maybe.

†† He’s also never been at the animal shelter when someone brings in the previously-beloved family pet because it keeps trying to eat the baby.  Yes, that’s bad socialisation, but it’s also jealousy.

††† One of the few reliable ways of getting hellhounds to express an interest in food is to feed the hellterror.  Unfortunately the interest doesn’t last long enough to do much to improve calorie intake—but hellhounds are both there looking alert every time I bribe the hellterror into her crate with a handful of kibble, waiting for their, as it were, door prize of a square of fish jerky each.^  Which they do at least eat.


‡ Pav, who is on her side incandescent with jealousy of the hellhounds most of the time, specialises in screaming a wide variety of imprecations and hurling herself repeatedly against the door of her crate.  Or running up my leg like a banana-harvester up a tree with a particularly succulent bunch at the very top.

‡‡ Not nearly transitory enough however.  As too many of us know.


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