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My dog is ruining my life Thousands adopted a pet in lockdown. I can't be the only one who regrets it

Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty

Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty


January 27, 2021   5 mins

Along with Jeff Bezos and the Chinese Communist Party, the real winners of the past year have been dogs. You might have noticed more of the animals on your daily permitted travels, and it’s not just your imagination — under the loneliness and despair of lockdown, huge numbers of people have got dogs. There is even a dog in the White House again — two in fact, Major and Champ — after four years of the notoriously caninephobic Trump. And of those tens of thousands of new dog owners, many — especially when lockdown is over — will realise they have made a terrible mistake. I speak from experience.

The dog issue in our family had been a growing controversy for some time, but I had never expected it to become a real one. I refused every plea. We have three children in a not-very-big flat, so compact that all of them were in the same room for a while. Why on earth would I want yet another living creature to look after? More responsibility? More reasons to be woken up in the night?

But then, just once, when I had had maybe slightly too much to drink, I said it would be fine and maybe it was even a good idea. By the time I came to my senses and relented, it was too late: the wheels were in motion, like the build-up to war. There was no stopping it.

I’m not a natural dog person. I grew up in Zone 2, in a flat, and for 11 years we had a cat, Suzie — who I wasn’t wild about, if I’m honest. My only experience of looking after a dog was occasionally taking my father-in-law’s elderly Dalmatian for a walk on Hampstead Heath. We had a few miserable strolls in the rain during which Jasper would crouch down and deliver an almighty deposit out of his grotesque canine digestive system, a monstrous Mordor of a place filled with sulphur and God-knows-what toxins. Jasper would then wait there, giving me a look as if to say, “well it’s not going to pick itself up, is it?” And on we would go.

Alas Jasper is now in the great hall feasting with his ancestors, and my wife’s extended family — many of whom live nearby — longed for a replacement. They’re dog people: they crave the companionship and the love the animal gives you, the dog-chat about dog things, even the dog smell. It leaves me cold.

My wife started browsing those websites where they advertise homeless animals from the Mediterranean and former Soviet bloc, who are then shipped away from their hellish existence on the streets of Kiev or Chișinău and taken in by families in Remain-voting areas of southern England. Our future pet had been found along with her five siblings just outside Lisbon, orphaned after the horrendous forest fires of summer 2018. They were lucky: all six of them ended up being flown over to England, where they found homes somewhere between Crouch End and Bristol.

I must have been busy writing my book while all this happening. All I remember is, later, returning from the cinema to find this small animal in our flat. It looked more like a fox than anything, although it is apparently some sort of lurcher — a common type found on the streets of Lisbon.

My children were instantly delighted, and from a utilitarian point of view the dog has made our house far happier. Everyone else is about 20% happier; I’m about 50% less happy. So it’s a big win for the West family.

The dog and I immediately didn’t hit it off. The animals are perceptive, I suppose, and “Twiggy” (no particular reason for the name) soon learned that I am the lone canine-sceptic in the house and that I don’t want to be licked, don’t appreciate barking and am especially not too fond of stepping in urine on the floor first thing in the morning. It’s not that I wish the dog any ill, I just don’t want it anywhere near me.

As I have children and pretty much everyone loves children, I sort of assumed people were the same with pets. In fact, I’d say about one in five people really dislike dogs, and get angry or scared if you let yours go near them. If you go out with your baby to the park or shops, you often receive smiles or compliments. You’re certainly not going to get abuse from random strangers. With a dog, you do.

It’s often by other dog owners, to be honest. Twiggy is some sort of sighthound, so she’s designed to run after anything vaguely resembling a rabbit. That includes cats and smaller dogs, and Hampstead Heath is full of these delicate little fluffballs that get scared whenever even a medium-sized dog chases them. And their owners end up shouting at us. It’s like having some adolescent tearaway.

Twiggy reserves special animosity for cats, and for the poor creature living next door to us life has all of a sudden changed dramatically. In our gloriously happy pre-Twiggy days, I used to occasionally stroke this perfectly harmless animal as I walked the kids to school, the cat basking in its good fortune in life: a nice quiet suburban road in north London; free food; adoring humans; absolutely nothing to worry about. And then a dog moves in next door.

Every day Twiggy howls and screams at this cat, which runs off in terror. Perhaps the most stressful thing about Twiggy is that noise she makes. It is truly horrendous, like the screaming of the damned in hell. It genuinely shakes me to the core. So God knows what the cat must think.

But as bad as all this animal violence is, I find the dog-chats with dog-people even worse — the stilted, three-minute pauses while people compare breeds and characteristics and personalities and say “oh, they’re so loyal, aren’t they?” But they’re all loyal, I want to laugh, they’re programmed that way! You don’t get dogs cynically manoeuvring around their master like they’re scheming courtiers in Renaissance Italy, do you?

At the end of the day, once work and house drudgery are all done, I like to read on the sofa. This is my precious space where I can relax, and I’m quite particular about hoovering the carpet and ensuring the place is clean. Even with children, I’d managed to win the battle.

Well, that all went. If I wanted to sit down on my sofa, there would be animal bones all over the floor, like someone had emptied a KFC rubbish bin on my carpet, alongside ripped up furry toys, pencils, bits of wood and chewed up tennis balls. (She has got better since, in fairness).

I’m not anti-animal, I just don’t get the rewards other people enjoy. I don’t want a creature that follows me around all day, or licks me, or wants its tummy stroked. The only quality I want in a sycophant is someone who praises my writing. I just want a pet that says “great piece today, Ed”, “love your book, Ed” and “you’re so much better than [much more successful journalist], Ed”; I don’t want one that tries to sniff my crotch after it’s just eaten some vomit off the pavement.

I would like this to be one of those stories where we actually learn to love each other. But sometimes there are no happy endings, only extended periods of begrudging tolerance and acceptance.

Ed West’s Tory Boy: Memoirs of the Last Conservative is now available in paperback


Ed West’s book Tory Boy is published by Constable

edwest

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Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

Great piece today Ed,
Twiggy

irving2711
irving2711
3 years ago

No it isn’t.Its just the ruminations of a miserable sod.

Mark Beal
Mark Beal
3 years ago
Reply to  irving2711

Being a miserable sod is underrated.

Lee Floyd
Lee Floyd
3 years ago
Reply to  irving2711

You missed the joke

Lucy Browne
Lucy Browne
3 years ago

I guess this is meant to be funny, but honestly I just feel enormous frustration with people who get a dog on a whim, especially those who don’t meet the criteria for a UK rescue so have one shipped in from abroad – often by people who do inadequate vetting of owners and whether prospective owner/ situation and dog are a suitable pairing. When it all goes disastrously wrong (as is often the case with street dogs who aren’t used to living indoors, let alone in a flat with three kids), the ‘rescue’ won’t want to know, so the poor animal will probably end up in an overstretched UK rescue. A dog (or any living animal which forms such profound bonds with its owners) is for life, nor just for lockdown, until you go back to work, or until everyone gets fed up with it.

skershaw54
skershaw54
3 years ago
Reply to  Lucy Browne

I don’t think the bonds are all that profound. Dogs run away all the time.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
3 years ago
Reply to  skershaw54

That rather depends on the owner, from every point of view.

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  skershaw54

The bond between parent and child is of the utmost profundity, yet a child will run away if you let them.

Lickya Lips
Lickya Lips
3 years ago
Reply to  Julian Hartley

….but the child won’t run away from a family dog.

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  Lickya Lips

Ah, we have finally reached the most profound truth of them all.

John Kozakiewicz
John Kozakiewicz
3 years ago
Reply to  skershaw54

No dog I have owned has EVER run away! Perhaps if I were a dog, I might run away from you too! My Standard Schnauzer was a wonderful judge of character.The way she relentlessly persued my daughter’s ne’er-do-well boyfriend was truly a joy to behold.

skershaw54
skershaw54
3 years ago

Hitler’s dogs loved him.

I bet you don’t trust people that don’t like dogs.
But you trust dogs that don’t like people.

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  skershaw54

They were Alsastians

Susanne Becker
Susanne Becker
3 years ago

😆😆😆 you probably never lived with a Beagle…

Paul Hunt
Paul Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  skershaw54

Dogs are used to constantly migrating if in the wild, unless they’re pregnant, and are also very stupid. A smart Alsatian is said to be as smart as a three year old, who also wander off in the shops etc but have trouble running off very far.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Hunt

I don’t think it is true that they are very stupid. They aren’t humans – that’s for sure, but in comparison to most creatures on this planet they are incredibly smart, especially at interpreting body language and the emotional state of those around them. They watch their owners and are keen to understand what they want. This is especially true of working breeds like sheep dogs.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  skershaw54

More likely the dog follows its urges to go for a run and then gets lost. Dogs – even ill-treated ones, are very fixated on their owners. It’s part of the pack mentality they inherited from their wild ancestors. Wolves tolerate the abuses of the rigorous pack pecking order which is analogous to an unpleasant owner.

skershaw54
skershaw54
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Human breeding of dogs has apparently destroyed their sense of direction. Dogs are barely smarter than plants at this point.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  skershaw54

You could have said the same about your own intellect, judging by that remark Steve.

Julia H
Julia H
3 years ago

This makes me very sad. I have a generally excellently behaved border collie (and cats) and live in a very rural area so ideal for exercising a dog but even I have trouble coping with long winters of wet dog walks which can be tough on morale. I’m afraid Ed’s family have made the fundamental mistake of failing to do proper research into the breed before taking this poor dog. I just can’t imagine the stress of keeping a sight hound in an urban flat, let alone with three children to wind it up. It may seem clinical but people really need to approach selecting a dog as they would approach selecting a car. It’s expensive and will be with you for several years and you’ll be taking it out daily so it’s worth taking time to make sure it suits your lifestyle. You might want a two seater soft top because they’re fun in the summer but the rest of the time it will be deeply impractical. So it is with a dog. A car however will not feel the frustration and loneliness that comes with neglect of its basic needs. I’m sad for the dog and sad that it was inflicted so thoughtlessly on Ed. An avoidable mistake.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Julia H

‘approach selecting a dog as they would approach selecting a car’ Apposite, as they have a similar carbon footprint. It must be gratifying as a dogowner to know, as you hang your bag of dogshit on the bush, that as well as destroying the local environment, you’re trashing the planet.

Julia H
Julia H
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

I would never, ever hang a bag of s**t in a bush and have actually fallen out with a neighbour who did this. As someone who chose not to have children and who drives an electric car my conscience is clear re. carbon footprint. How about you?

Ralph Sperring
Ralph Sperring
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Nice to see a measured and courteous response to a comment

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Sperring

Quite. I do sympathise with the comment about dogshit bags, though – I can’t understand the mentality behind people doing that. Fortunately most dog owners are sensible about such things.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago

Yes, I agree. I’m afraid that as in many spheres, the problems of dog waste, especially the festooning of bags in trees and bushes is the result of the fact that about twenty percent of the human population are not only of very low intellect, but also have sociopathic tendencies. Only a twisted moron would hang a bag of sh|t on a tree.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Sperring

What twaddle! Did you read the absolute rubbish that he spouted there? Read my response to his carbon footprint claim.

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

I think Mr Sperring was being sarcastic…

Anna Borsey
Anna Borsey
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Errr … and with respect to HUMANS, what is THEIR carbon footprint?

skershaw54
skershaw54
3 years ago
Reply to  Anna Borsey

Huge, because humans created dogs. And humans haven’t learned that dogs are ecological disasters.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

A Marshall said, “Apposite, as they have a similar carbon footprint. ”

What rubbish. You made that up, or were gullible enough to believe some extremist greenwash. The assertion about carbon footprint is demonstrable rubbish. I’m not anti car at all, but the massive amount of carbon required to manufacture them, let alone to fuel them must exceed the fairly puny carbon footprint of the average dog by a factor of at least a hundred times – probably much more. The meat content of dog food is made from the waste of the meat processing industry which would have no other outlet were they not finding their way into dog food for a start. My dog eats about 170 grams of food a day which is 20% meat waste recovered from abattoirs. The rest is ow grade grains – hardly comparable with a car which before it even begins its working life requires the mining and transport of several tonnes of metal ore, the smelting of a finished 1000KG of metal, and the production of plastic and rubber.

Only an absolute idiot would have written what you just did.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

I look forward to the time when writers do not feel compelled to include an egregious Trump dig-“after four years of the notoriously caninephobic…” This is the first that I have heard this…perhaps he was less “phobic” than you apparently are…a busy person makes the correct decision not to take on the responsibility of a dog-which is a pack animal, and demands attention.

Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

‘ a dig’? Hardly! Being caninephobic is not a crime or an insult, it’s surely just a fact.
I do though share your feeling about the unnecessary criticism he was subjected to.

neilpickard72
neilpickard72
3 years ago

It is morally reprehensible if you own a dog. He’d better walk it properly or he’s in for even more misery. Advertising your selfish fecklessness isn’t a good look.

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Cynophobic surely

drcampbell.mail
drcampbell.mail
3 years ago

A very enjoyable read. Now the author has some insight into the minds of the “purposefully-childless” and how they endure insufferable children and their parents. 😉

devallrr
devallrr
3 years ago

Exactly! Boring baby talk, stinking nappies etc – give me a plastic poo bag anyway!

Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago
Reply to  devallrr

At least a baby grows out of needing its bodily functions taken care of by someone else. Talk about pets is equally very boring, and please No Photos! Dogs seem to adore their owners but still require others to clear up after them.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Oh, the purposely manage to in their share of “I can so much more about the planet than you do,” so it evens out.

Nigel H
Nigel H
3 years ago

1283 words to say “I don’t plan ahead”¦”

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel H

Hey, at a penny a word, that’s not a bad gig.

ian.walker12
ian.walker12
3 years ago
Reply to  Julian Hartley

£12.83? That’ll not buy that many dog biscuits.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

Lockdown-motivated pet adoption is wide-spread at the moment and speaking as a former rescue volunteer I fear it is a trend that will not end well for many of the dogs.
Adopting a dog is a decision that needs to be made based on your lifestyle and not to fill a temporary void.
It should be a decision made with the aim that the dog will a member of your family until ‘death do you part” but sadly I fear that in a few months (hopefully) when lockdowns are lifted and some sort of normalcy returns the animal rescues and shelters will be swamped with dogs that are surplus to requirements.
“Oh he’s lovely, we just don’t have time for him” is an all-time favourite dog-dumper line that’s been used for years especially by young couples who adopted a dog as a stand-in “baby”.
Once the real baby came along the dog wasn’t needed.
“My child is allergic” and “We can’t afford her medication” are other common ones.
That’s not to say that there are not real reasons that people can np longer keep a pet but the excuses are often very lame.

If however, you are ready, willing and able to make the commitment and sacrifice (vet bills can be steep) required to bring a dog in to your family then have at it and good on ya’.
If you do your research you’ll have a good chance of getting matched up with a wonderful “furever” friend.

But if this is a temporary distraction because the kids are climbing the walls try the aquarium channel or fingerpainting. – it’ll save you – and the dog – a lot of needless grief.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

This was my instant reaction to the news that lots of people are getting pets in lockdown. Lots will become beloved companions…but there will also be plenty that land in pet homes when their owners move on to the next trend or void-filler. My heart breaks for those animals.

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Well said. “A dog’s for Life, not just for Christmas”. Surely one of the very best slogans ever. Proud to say I must’ve had one of the very first bumper stickers they ever made, when Dog’s Trust had just the one centre, in South Wales.
Spent my whole working life *not* having a dog (no time, not around, etc) but now I’m not, I’m involved in rescuing the former “accessories” of others with 4 adopted Huskies

Jane Ingram
Jane Ingram
3 years ago

I sympathise, shame about that weak moment. Personally I think this obsession with dog ownership in the West is a form of societal mental illness and the more fashionable it becomes the more the momentum builds, herd mentality. I like dogs, in the right place, on a farm, or where they have plenty of space etc. I think it is way past time that licences were brought back, they should never have gone in the first place. A licence should not be given unless the potential owner meets certain criteria. That would make people think twice. Aside from a massive amount of animal neglect and cruelty, the vast dog population is extremely bad for the environment, being meat eaters. In addition lots of them, love to chase wildlife and as they are well fed but not the wildlife the wildlife does not stand a chance.

Julian Williams
Julian Williams
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Ingram

Spot on! It’s similar to everyone (in the UK at least) seeming to HAVE to support a soccer team.

Deni Kittay
Deni Kittay
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Ingram

so true! I love the idea of dogs – as companions and indeed at some level aiding mental health of the owner – but the realities and practicalities of looking after a dog in many cases ultimately, I feel, override the need for this ‘comfort pet’. I walk a lot now and hate the bounding untrained dog (especially covered in mud!).

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Ingram

Actually dogs eat small dried buttons of brown stuff which contain very little meat. And in your average park the only wildlife is squirrels and birds, and it is the dogs that don’t have a chance, although god bless them they never give up trying.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  G Matthews

The meat in dog food is always meat waste from abattoirs.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane Ingram

Oh God….. Please save us from the oppressive buffoons who want to legislate licensing of everyday, ordinary human behaviour. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!! DON’T try dictating to me what I can and can not do in my ordinary life minding my own business.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
3 years ago

Poor dog! I am speechless with frustration at the ignorance of people who ‘adopt’ an animal for whimsical selfish reasons and then blame the poor creature for acting like an animal. Rescue dogs, in my long experience, are particularly challenging because they carry with them the scars of their past lives, and it can take many months of intelligent and loving understanding to help them to overcome these trauma. They are best placed with experienced and patient owners.

This writer finds fault with aspects of Twiggy’s behaviour which can all be laid at the door of the humans in this poor dog’s life. If your dog runs away from you on walks then get an extending lead until you can be bothered to train it. If the dog tears things up it’s because it is bored or distressed, so deal with the problem. If the dog urinates indoors then train it – even older dogs can be trained. The overwhelming problem in this situation is that the people in Twiggy’s life seemed to expect to acquire some sort of stuffed toy or robot dog which they didn’t need to make any effort with. Living with a dog is akin to living with children – noisy, expensive, often frustrating, but with the potential to be wonderfully rewarding,

dinoventrali
dinoventrali
3 years ago

My wife nags me constantly to get a dog. She sees only the pleasant and uplifting side of dog ownership, endless pleasant strolls with a canine companion, love and affection delivered by a faithful friend, cuddles on the sofa, doggy tricks to show off to admiring friends. I remind her of the dark side, ruined lawn, chewed furniture, constant worry when we’re out about getting back home to let the dog out, the inability to go out on a whim for more than an hour or two without arranging for the dog to be looked after, vets bills, and of course the big one, folowing doggy around on those glorious country walks, picking up steaming hot excrement in a plastic bag. Thanks but no thanks.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

Don’t have a problem with dogs. Dog owners will just not take responsibility for them. I live near a cycle path, also used for walking and running. Dog owners persist in letting their darlings off the leash. As I was walking past one couple (pet and owner) the pet jumped up at me and its paws made a couple of marks on my coat. Owner says to dog, “You silly girl, what have I told you about jumping up at people?” Not a word to me.

Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I do have a problem with dogs. A while ago out by the coast I saw this off leash dog making a bee-line for me. I was ready for the nose in crotch but this dog leapt up, its paws near my shoulders and licked MY MOUTH – YUK! YUK! Woman rapidly scurried off with a mumbled ‘Sorry’. My day was spent wondering what disgusting surfaces that dog’s tongue had licked previously.

Stephen Tye
Stephen Tye
3 years ago

Probably hoovered up some horse manure, then cleaned its rear end. Lovely.

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
3 years ago

You knew exactly what they were.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Yes. Owners often suck. Then they get self-righteous when you point it out.

Judy Posner
Judy Posner
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

C’mon. That is a dog owner’s convoluted way of making an apology! Don’t talk silliness.

Angelique Todesco-Bond
Angelique Todesco-Bond
3 years ago

We are a dog family and lost our dog (old age) back in October, and the wave of ill-planned, ‘must have latest accessory’ dog buying, has placed our chances of getting another dog completely out of reach. Puppies are £3000 a pop (who has that amount of disposable at the moment?) and every time I apply for a rescue, there have been hundreds of applications and we have no luck. So I have to say, this story has made me a little tense.

john freeman
john freeman
3 years ago

Have patience, madam: in a few moths, when lockdown ends, there will be hundres of “second-hand ” dogs, free to good homes . . .

Anna Borsey
Anna Borsey
3 years ago

My dear, there are NUMEROUS dog rescue groups, some are UK based, and they all have a UK “manager” or “assistant”, who will be only too pleased to home a dog rescued from unimaginable horrors in e.g., Romania, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt. These rescues do not charge a fortune for one of their dogs; usually it is £200 – £400.

Try K9 dog rescue. “Due to the cost incurred in rescuing, neutering/spaying, vaccinating, de-fleaing/de-worming, microchipping, passporting and transporting involved with all the dogs we ask for a minimum donation of £200, as this then helps to rescue another dog in need. Please see below for Our Adoption Process.”
http://www.k9-rescue.org.uk

Animal Friends of Turkey. Most of their rescued dogs are already in a foster home here in the UK.
https://rehome-a-rescue-dog

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Anna Borsey

Rubbish. The international dog rescue business pays good money to people who would never be able to hold down a job in any useful business. They are always grubby, ex-humanities students with no useful skills.

Angelique Todesco-Bond
Angelique Todesco-Bond
3 years ago
Reply to  Anna Borsey

Actually Anna we tried all of the above and including from Spain as well. None of them would rehouse with us because we have a 13 year old son and 2 cats.
We spent months and months looking and we did finally recently get a puppy farm rescue, he is 5 years old and lovely. As I said in my original post every single rescue from UK and beyond was either not deemed suitable or had hundreds of applications.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
3 years ago

Oh dear, Ed, we’ve learned a lot more about you than your poor urban dog. Incidentally, I’m not a huge Trump admirer, but he did not want a dog, so no dog. There’s a lesson there

dorothywebdavies
dorothywebdavies
3 years ago

I cannot understand how any intelligent person living in a flat has a pet, (with the exception of a tank of fish). It is so obviously unsuitable and unfair to both owner and animal.

Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago

Even more than one child is pushing it.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago

You’ve never been loved until you’ve been loved by a dog.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

If you are serious in your comment then you must be desperate!

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Ha ha..

Sue Blanchard
Sue Blanchard
3 years ago

Mr. West,

As a dog lover and owner, you are still hilarious! I’m sorry you are not on our (dog-lover) side but keep writing nonetheless. We, along with Twiggy appreciate you!

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Sue Blanchard

And Oscar sends his best. 😉

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

At last! A writer who dislikes dogs and dog ownership almost as much as I do. I was beginning to think that criticism of these insufferable chummy pets and their doting, sentimental owners was illegal in the UK.

Man’s best friend? Has anyone estimated how much urine and faeces they collectively deposit on a city such as London in one day? Yes, I know that responsible dog-lovers pick up after their pets but that stuff has to end up somewhere ““ it doesn’t get vaporised. As for the urine ““ every dog taking its obedient owner for a walk will halt at trees and lamposts to deposit a drop of piddle. Some sort of territorial marker we are told ““ nice.

Then there is the noise. These stupid animals are moved to bark simply because a person passes nearby or because other dogs are barking and they must join in. Their owners delight at this cheery sound (naturally) and cannot understand why anyone could object.

There should be some sort licensing system. Dog ownership should be made difficult.

joe_falconer
joe_falconer
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

You haven’t had your cultural training.

It is illegal – and deportation may await you.

Mr West is treading a close line but not overstepping. Nuance is everything.

skershaw54
skershaw54
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

It’s absurd that dog urine is everywhere. It’s completely unreasonable. We got rid of cigarette smoke everywhere. Let’s get rid of dog urine everywhere, too.

‘That’s what dogs do’ is not a reason for me to have to walk in your dog’s urine any more than ‘that’s what cigarettes do’ is a reason for me to have to breathe your smoke.

Dogs need to wear diapers when out in public. It’s the only way we can all be free of their urine and feces everywhere.

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  skershaw54

I do hope you are being ironic here. If not, then you really are a bit of a plonquer.

Fiona Mortimer
Fiona Mortimer
3 years ago

‘You don’t get dogs cynically manoeuvring around their master like they’re scheming courtiers in Renaissance Italy, do you?’

Clearly this guy has never owned a Jack Russell Terrier

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Mortimer

Cynically ? Ex hypothesi

Daid Read
Daid Read
3 years ago

Well put indeed. The day I weakened and agreed to my kids’ demands to allow a dog in the house was a day I rued for the next seventeen years. The good news is, two of our five (now grown) children agree with me.

Riff Raff
Riff Raff
3 years ago

The only thing I loathe more than dogs are cats!

My other half is trying to wear me down on getting a dog and your piece has inspired me to continue to say “NO!”. The last thing I want to do is to take a smelly, noise furball out for a walk where I have to pick up steaming hot turds and walk around swinging those horrible black plastic bags, desperately hoping for a bin to rid it all the while being accosted by banal dog owners talking to me about doggy stuff which I would inevitably hate, My other half tries to argue it’ll be different with our own animal only for me to point out I studiously avoid the other families pets as they bound around like crazed Tasmanian devils trying to lick you, barking and all that other headache inducing activity. Ugh

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Riff Raff

Tell us about your cat hate then ….

Katy Randle
Katy Randle
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

If he’s not fond of guinea pigs either, would it be classified as a pet hate?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Katy Randle

Dreadful 🙂

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Katy Randle

Time to get your coat, KR!

dinoventrali
dinoventrali
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I’ll tell you about my cat hate shall I? It’s simple. Cat owners who let their animals out to wander over neighbouring gardens at will, leaving delightful cat turds on lawns and patios. Thankfully there are no cats near to me now, but at my last house there were two which regularly used my garden as a toilet. Not for long though. I caught them both and drove 50 miles to release them into the wild.

Julia H
Julia H
3 years ago
Reply to  dinoventrali

What a horrible thing to do. You appear unashamed too, which is worrying.

Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago
Reply to  dinoventrali

Cats do that. Why would they poo in their own gardens when they can poo in yours. And in case you didn’t know the owners are not able to control that, sorry.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  dinoventrali

cats bury their business, so what’s this about things left on lawns and patios? Releasing them in the wild was classy. Fortunately, most cats have enough wild in them that they can often survive on their own.

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

To the detriment of other animals and birds.

dorothywebdavies
dorothywebdavies
3 years ago
Reply to  dinoventrali

I never have a problem with cats in my garden. This is because I like them. Cats always know when people dislike them and make a point of hanging around. As they always clean up after themselves tidily, the mess you find must also be deliberate. But i think you were really mean to kidnap those two – depend upon it, they will be avenged!

joe_falconer
joe_falconer
3 years ago
Reply to  dinoventrali

I’d be careful if I were you.

There are vast numbers of cat lovers who might take your comment as true. And, if it is true, you might want to get yourself some protection.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  joe_falconer

Sounds like the sort of thing a deeply insecure person would make up – or actually do.

Not a bright kid either way ….

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  joe_falconer

There are vast numbers of cat lovers who might take your comment as true. And, if it is true, you might want to get yourself some protection.

Doubt he is any actual danger here. But you don’t need to be a cat lover or even an animal lover to see that his supposed actions were despicable.

It’s one thing not liking an animal yourself; fine, each to their own. But another thing entirely secretly stealing one from a family/owner and abandoning it 50 miles away.

Doubt he would dare do that from under the noses of the actual owners – or indeed he might find himself in a car as you suggest. Poor owners probably have no idea where their pets are to this day.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  dinoventrali

I actually asked “Riff Raff” to comment, so you should really have kept your contemptible (and possibly fabricated) comment to yourself …

UnHerd is probably not the right community for you …..

No need to respond, as I have used the excellent ‘Block” functionality against your name, so I will not see any further comments you make on this – or any other subject.

Nicholas Rynn
Nicholas Rynn
3 years ago
Reply to  Riff Raff

Have a wonderful day. My highlight will be a long walk in the Herefordshire countryside with my dog. We may meet a few people and, as is the won’t of us rural folk, we shall pass the time in, socially distanced, conversation, not necessarily about dogs.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Rynn

Lucky you! My walk in the local park (I am a city dweller) has been blighted since lockdown by the huge increase in the number of people walking their dogs. These range from little old ladies with yapping little pooches no bigger than cats to groups of menacing looking youths with hefty great “thughounds”.

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  Riff Raff

You should not be using black plastic bags anyway. The green ones made from corn starch can be put into the compost and rot.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago

“oh, they’re so loyal, aren’t they?” But they’re all loyal, I want to laugh, they’re programmed that way!

Yes quite. Personally I don’t find it that satisfying since the “love” is just hardwired into them whatever. It’s not a bad thing sure, and dogs are very cute a lot of the time, but I find it about as emotionally enriching as an automated screen wishing you a nice day as you leave a car park.

A Woodward
A Woodward
3 years ago

Your real mistake was marrying a dog person. What on earth were you thinking?

Pete Randall
Pete Randall
3 years ago

It’s really quite simple: If you’re not a dog person, don’t get a dog… least of all for ‘the children’ when, as with 99.9% of all pets bought for children, it’s you who will end up looking after it.

You’re not and you did… just how stupid or unaware do you have to be not to have noticed the years and years of adverts about ‘ a dog’s for life…’?

Sadly, it is the dog who will suffer when inevitably you decide you ‘can’t cope’ and take it from its adopted pack and abandon it at a shelter.

Vanya Body
Vanya Body
3 years ago

My husband was a canine misanthrope (if that is allowable) but after much lobbying, and our cat being run over one day, he lowered his guard and Honey, the golden working cocker spaniel entered our lives. She is a joy and bringer of joy. She distracts grumpy teens and de-stresses tired adults. Her beseeching eyes get me off the sofa and outside and her companionship is non-judgemental. If she has a downside, it is her dedication to the ball and tendency to chase any pheasant, but we live in the countryside and can easily cope. The mistake you may have made was to adopt a dog from a troubled background without considering that it might not fit into your routine and without having the appropriate space for them, inside and out. Don’t underestimate the costs of feeding, insuring and so on. That can be a bit of a shock! For us, though, there has been no chewed furniture and clothing, and a dog flap solves the issue of letting her out on her own in the garden, so our dog can cope perfectly well being left alone for a few hours. The advantages outweigh the downsides. You just need to choose wisely. What most alarms me is the fact that if we were buying our lovely Honey today, we probably couldn’t afford to as lockdown profiteering by unscrupulous dog breeders is just astonishing.

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago

As a dog dis-liker, I have learned two things: in wanting a pet, children are as relentless as the tides, and, will eventually catch you at a weak moment. As for dogs, they seem incapable of accepting that some humans simply do not like them, and, they will unabashedly suck up to said humans to the end of their worthless lives. My neighbour’s English Mastiff has spent ten years drooling – literally – over me, seemingly outliving its expected life span of seven years just to add one more conquest to its list. I’ve [recently] conceded to a pat on the head just to get rid of it. Determined never to say, “Nice doggy”.

John Mcalester
John Mcalester
3 years ago

You seem to want to blame the dog, whereas to me it seems the fault is all yours.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

My cat is mostly well behaved. As a reward, if I die in my sleep I’ll let him eat my face.

David J
David J
3 years ago

My next-door cats are ideal pets.
Give them treats when I feel like it, talk to them from time to time, let them sleep by the fire occasionally.
Then… out the door and back home they go!

Malcolm dunn
Malcolm dunn
3 years ago

What a sad situation. I receive far, far more from my dogs than I could ever give them. I would never be without a dog again.

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm dunn

I’d second that.

X Xer
X Xer
3 years ago

My local park, and most places that I go to enjoy the outside, are ruined by dogs and their mostly feckless owners. Every time I go for a walk there’s a dog incident: this lunchtime, 2 people, 6 dogs, all off leash near wildfowl, but not a care in the world in their posh wellies and coats.
Dogs suffer at these people’s whims, treated as furry humans rather than animals due respect and a place in a hierarchy, causing so many to run out of control which will likely end up with them being abandoned.

skershaw54
skershaw54
3 years ago
Reply to  X Xer

Dogs are detrimental to wildlife even when on a leash.

When wild animals smell dog they avoid the area. The impact is reduced wildlife habitat.

X Xer
X Xer
3 years ago
Reply to  skershaw54

Agree – the local pond is bereft of many species seen in other parks with less dogs. Despite the signs up, 9 out of 10 owners let their dogs chase the wildfowl and often think it’s funny.

rbailey5555
rbailey5555
3 years ago
Reply to  X Xer

It’s not the dog’s fault, it’s the owners and local governments who are reluctant to pass laws about responsible pet ownership.
In my small town north of Toronto, dogs must be leashed at all times unless they’re in the local dog park. It’s the law that you must pick up after your dog, if not you can be fined. Cats are not allowed to roam freely outside, it’s dangerous for the cat and very bad for local small wildlife.
With respect to wildlife, my neighbourhood is full of dogs and there is no shortage of wildlife. In fact, squirrels have tried to befriend my little dog and the rabbits are known to nest in gardens with dogs since dogs tend to keep predators away.
In spite of all the dogs, there are squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, foxes, coyotes and all manner of birds-I could go on and on.
Just like there are bad parents, there are bad pet parents…

Linda Brown
Linda Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  X Xer

Fenced in dog parks need to be established where dogs can run off leash without being a danger to wildlife (and small children) and from the danger of cars and bikes. They could be established in underused areas of established parks. Large fines for being off leash in a park could then be introduced.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

Please allow me to recommend a book called Go Away Dog. I read it to my youngest child about 73 times…

Judy Posner
Judy Posner
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

great tip. didn’t know the book and it is adorable. especially the vintage version.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Posner

So glad to entice another to its charms.

My little one was seriously afraid of dogs up the age of ten. The book didn’t cure him, but did plant seeds about how play will engage almost any dog. Then we got two puppies, and he now happily supervises a dog that is considerably bigger than he is.

Angus J
Angus J
3 years ago

Great piece today, Ed!

“In fact, I’d say about one in five people really dislike dogs, and get angry or scared if you let yours go near them.”

Count me in that 20%. A dislike starting from when a neighbour’s semi-feral Alsatian had escaped from her garden and pinned me against a wall alongside the road barking and growling its head off, when I was not much taller than the dog was at the shoulder. I could give many more examples of being on the receiving end of unpleasant behaviour from dogs.

And to find out that Donald Trump disliked dogs too, well at least that’s one thing in his favour.

Jeff Mason
Jeff Mason
3 years ago

None of this is the dog’s fault. If you live in an apartment, don’t get an active dog. It’s like adopting a baby and then returning it to the orphanage when you discover that crying and changing nappies comes with the package. If you don’t like dogs, don’t get one but if you do get one, be responsible. We have two dogs and a cat. I’m a dog person and wanted them so guess who takes them for walks and cleans up after them. The cat, on the other hand, only likes my wife and he and I live is a state of mutual assured distruction should we ever be trapped in the same closet. That said, I would never get rid of him because a pet, for better or worse, like a child, is a long term commitment and he didn’t pick us.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
3 years ago

To deal with the proliferation of new lockdown dogs, we badly need a new law that says that every dog owner who fails to clean up their dog’s excrement – or even worse – picks it up in a bag, then hangs the bag on a tree/hedge/fence – should be put down.

Lady Marchmain
Lady Marchmain
3 years ago

A talented writer but one who’s taken a bit of a risk with this article as it’s bound to rankle not just foe but friend.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago

Why foster these cynical companies that import dogs from elsewhere with a made up sob story attached to them? There re thousands of poor Staffies and other dogs sitting in cages in our own dog shelters and most of them get put down because nobody wants them. Meanwhile idiots pay money to rogues who are supposedly re-homing foreign dogs, but are really making a nice fat profit to pay their salaries.

Julia Wallis-Martin
Julia Wallis-Martin
3 years ago

Ed, you have my sympathy. I don’t understand why anyone would want to share their home with a filthy, demanding animal that licks its b#lls then slobbers all over them. The question now is, how are you going to get rid of it without ending up divorced?

jodogmad
jodogmad
3 years ago

It’s a wonder you have any kids even. Dog’s have more forgiveness than humans. Dogs are for life you should have thought of that before you joined the rest of the familys who got one on a whim.

gailworld
gailworld
3 years ago

People should say no to children, discuss it with a spouse, research thoroughly. Training should be considered as well. Are flats appropriate for dogs unless they are very small.
As for cats well they are pretty good at looking after themselves
I have little more than contempt for people do no prep or forward planning. It ends up with a dog, who has been through enough already, in a precarious position. I’m a dog person and an animal.person in general.

John Kozakiewicz
John Kozakiewicz
3 years ago

As an antidote to this decidedly unfunny and depressing piece, may I offer the following few sentences by Axel Munthe. It is from his preface to the first American edition of ‘The Story of San Michele.’

“In a humble corner of the Elysian Fields is the cemetery of the dogs. All my dead friends are there, their bodies are still where I laid them down under the cypresses by the old Tower, but their faithful hearts have been taken up here. Kind St. Rocco, the little patron-saint of all dogs, is the custodian of the cemetery…”

Julian Williams
Julian Williams
3 years ago

Blimey! Some sense of humour you clearly don’t have!

David Fitzsimons
David Fitzsimons
3 years ago

Please submit a shortened version of this article to every outlet.

skershaw54
skershaw54
3 years ago

I am woken every night by neighborhood barking dogs.
I can no longer run or bicycle around the neighborhood without being charged by dogs.
I’ve been bitten while just walking on the sidewalk.
I can’t let my children play in the front yard because a dozen dogs a day use it as their urinal.
I can’t open my windows and listen to birds. Nope. I have to keep them closed because of barking dogs.
Dogs ruin everything. They turn every neighborhood into a noisy sewer.
Now dogs are in stores, licking their privates.
Dogs disgusting and smell bad.

I love animals. I don’t like dogs. NO. Your doggie isn’t gonna sniff me. It’s an assault.

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
3 years ago

I can take care of your dog problem. It’ll cost you, though.

jduplancic123
jduplancic123
3 years ago

Oh and, if you regret having a dog because of you and your dog too, hand him over to a nice loving household.

Rob Grayson
Rob Grayson
3 years ago

What a wonderfully entertaining piece. (And I say that as somehow who has owned and loved both dogs and cats.)

simon taylor
simon taylor
3 years ago

Regularly go rabbiting with my lurcher. Londoners should be banned from dog ownership, it`s cruel to keep a dog in a flat.

Paul Hunt
Paul Hunt
3 years ago

I only have one comment- if you want you’re dog to do what you want it will require work and will be a fantastic organic labour that doesn’t have to melt your frappe-frosted urbanite heart but will make your life easier. Read Dog-Whisperer and put the hours in.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Your dog deserves a loving home. You should probably do the responsible thing and find it one since the dog cannot do that for herself.

Pierre Pendre
Pierre Pendre
3 years ago

Write of reply for Twiggy.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
3 years ago

Love it, you’ve said the unsayable – well in my family at least! I do love dogs and would have one if I could (partner won’t hear of it), but not from another country. Much as I feel sorry for them, I do wonder why we are importing dogs from all over Europe when our rescue centres here are full. Give money if you feel sorry for the dogs!

Karen Lindquist
Karen Lindquist
3 years ago

Jeez, did everyone lose their sense of humor? It’s funny. Perhaps he truly feels this way, but it’s his right to feel that way, and people shouldn’t feel so threatened. It’s not as if he’s advocated for harming animals.
I do disagree with this bit however: everyone loves children.
If you wrote a pice like this about bringing kids into the house I’d laugh even more. I can’t stand them.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

As an aside. I often watch news features on earthquakes, from war zones, people suffering in general and the editor usually shows a few pictures of young children with ribs sticking out through the skin – the last item is meant to show how serious things are out there. There is rarely a reaction from people in this country. I suggest that the news editors should show pictures of sick animals and then watch the **** hit the fan.

joe_falconer
joe_falconer
3 years ago

Your first mistake was not to post a picture so that we can all attack with knowledgable ferocity.

Don’t worry – Twiggy likely carries a much greater disdain towards yourself than the other way round. Just be glad its not a cat – then you’d be likely to wake up with due punishment from your master.

Geoff Allen
Geoff Allen
3 years ago

Ed-I’m not impressed – but just look how many sycophants responded to your piece of crap.

simon taylor
simon taylor
3 years ago

Self centered doesn`t begin to describe Ed West.

Vilde Chaye
Vilde Chaye
3 years ago

Crap piece Ed. We get it. You don’t like dogs. Four words would have sufficed.

Jem Couture
Jem Couture
3 years ago

Thanks Ed for an entertaining light hearted piece amidst all the world chaos. I too am tempted to get some furry little friend as a happy distraction but I know it wouldn’t end well. Easy to fall for it though, especially with pleading children. Before all “this” happened, we would sometimes go to a friend’s home for dinner. Her large dog would be the first to the door to sniff crotches and rub his shedding fur all over black pants & later on fart under the dinner table. The hostess thought it was entertaining and couldn’t understand why we weren’t all enthralled with the canine greeter.

She truly was/is a certified dog lover and really a kind of ‘dog whisperer’. We just don’t all have it in us. C’est la vie!

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Yep, you’re on a hiding to nothing with this piece, no matter how enjoyable it might be and regardless of the light-hearted spirit it was written.

I quite like dogs but there are some owners out there, and those who don’t have kids or partners who are usually the worst, who treat them as an extension of themselves.

Any criticism is verboten and taken personally I’m afraid and can only reflect badly on you in their eyes.

This is when you get the, ‘oh, he (or she) doesn’t like you for some reason’ type mindgaming cr@p or, ‘he’s normally ok with men, he just doesn’t like short ones’ type thang.

My somewhat prickly mother in law has dogs and I can’t say we’ve always got on in the past, but her dogs, particularly one, loves me for some reason much to her chagrin.

Lee Floyd
Lee Floyd
3 years ago

I showed my wife this article, as I could have written it (were I a better writer). She doesn’t ‘get’ that I don’t ‘get’ dogs…smelly, unhygienic, servile creatures. Unfortunately, we have one. I’m trying to hold the fort against getting another as soon as this one wears out, but it is hard….

michael harris
michael harris
3 years ago

Ed, it sounds as if you have adopted a Podengo, the small Portuguese hunting dog. I have two of them, both escaped or abandoned.
These are absolutely unsuitable dogs for urban apartment living. This was an uninformed choice, but I suppose you must live with it. I don’t expect things will improve much – Podengos bark, chase and kill. In the end perhaps you should rehome him or her to someone living in the country or with a large garden. The upside is that Podengos are smart, adaptable and affectionate and settle easily in new families. But you will have some repair work to do with your family, it seems.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

this is quite the first world problem, though I was struck by this: In fact, I’d say about one in five people really dislike dogs, and get angry or scared if you let yours go near them.

I like dogs, especially larger dogs, like Labs or German Shepherds. Dog owners, however, are often another matter. Way too many of them fail in the basics of policing their own animal. I’ve seen in airports, of all places, in apartment complexes where the poor dears couldn’t be bothered with cleaning up after their pooch who went in the elevator, and so forth

Stephen Tye
Stephen Tye
3 years ago

You made the error of getting a dog past the puppy stage. A dog trained properly from a puppy will be obedient, never foul the house, never chew anything, will keep off the furniture and will keep downstairs. Then and only then will a dog be a pleasure – as a dog owner I get so cross at other dog owners and their untrained pets – they really shouldn’t be allowed to own a dog.

Julia H
Julia H
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Tye

Older dogs from rescues are often well trained. My first border collie (8 years old from a rescue) was an absolute gentleman and delight. My second was nearly 2 years old and deeply traumatised but still trainable. He’s now a joy. Clever dogs who use their brains. Don’t write off older dogs. Just remember to put the effort in to understand them and find a common language.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

I have had many discussions with dog walkers after their dog has run at me and rubbed up against me. Why can’t I catch Covid 19 from this dog? The owners say that it is impossible because dogs can’t catch Covid 19. Maybe, but if someone rubs the back of the dog and then the dog rubs against me I reckon I can catch Covid.

skershaw54
skershaw54
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

This is like somebody pointing a gun at you and telling you it’s not loaded. A dog running at me will NOT be accepted,

It’s an assault. I shout ‘no’ once. Strike one.
If it doesn’t go away I push it away with my foot. Strike two.
If that doesn’t work, it gets kicked. Strike three.

And I’m calling animal control now, because I’ve just been assaulted.
I don’t care what your dog likes.

jduplancic123
jduplancic123
3 years ago

Get rid of all the stress and turn your house into a playground and gym. Also sing and eat healthy.

Julian Williams
Julian Williams
3 years ago

Wonderful piece! Very funny!

G Matthews
G Matthews
3 years ago

Your mistake is not the ownership of a dog, it is living in Hampstead.

Having said that, i also got a lockdown puppy who has now hit the edge of puberty and added humping me to his repertoire of foul moves. Can’t wait till he humps the first stranger he meets in the park, that’s when the fireworks will really kick off.

carolstaines8
carolstaines8
3 years ago

Excellent, Ed! Sent this piece to youngest son who is talking about getting a dog….. I’d rather they cracked on and had a child! At least they learn how to clean themselves and even cook, after a few years.

Tina D
Tina D
3 years ago

I’m sorry but you sound like a self absorbed narcissist.

kvpbk39xc7
kvpbk39xc7
3 years ago

O oh! Here we go. Someone expresses an opinion others don’t like. Cue massively personal insults and hysteria. Have we learnt nothing from the mental breakdowns when Clinton lost the rigged election?

Wulvis Perveravsson
Wulvis Perveravsson
3 years ago

Unless they have a working dog for a purpose, I usually find people get dogs because they want a mammal around that’s loyal to them and shows affection. It smacks of an extreme kind of neediness. Of course, there are also the people for whom it is nothing more than a lifestyle accessory; usually young, trendy couples who buy the ‘in’ breed of the moment. What is it now? Springer Spaniels perhaps?

michael.milne
michael.milne
3 years ago

You have adopted the wrong type of dog after not researching it enough. Dogs are great. Much more interesting than cats.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago

You are wrong about everyone loving Children, Ed. Especially other people’s

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago

Bad luck Mr West, you got the wrong dog.
You would have been better of with an English Springer Spaniel, as illustrated by the caption photograph.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

I might have known you’d turn up. I’ve been expecting you.

Dare to criticise dogs and dog ownership and, sure enough, an expert dog-apologist will pop up to tell us that we’ve got it all wrong! We ignoramuses just don’t understand the different breeds.

It is particularly galling when a child is savaged by a dog that has been discovered (much too late) to be dangerous. Somehow it is never the dog’s fault.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Somehow it is never the dog’s fault.

You see it in the overly vocal defence ( even when no criticism is offered) of pitbulls and other similar dogs.

I would disagree in the sense that it’s not really the dog’s fault in as much as i wouldn’t blame a “pet” leopard that decided one day to tear my face off.

Some breeds have been created specifically for violence or work and not for sitting quietly at home by the sofa. People don’t seem to respect that fact and insist on getting breeds that contain centuries of genetic programming to do anything but what they’re trying to make the dog be. Owners in these cases are often completely deluded.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Dear me, such anger in one so young!

You are perfectly entitled to detest dogs, most of the world does, some even eat them on an industrial scale. No need to mention who.

However Mr West should have done his research before taking on a Lurcher “rescued from the streets of Lisbon”.
I doubt he would buy a car on such an impulse?

Every incident I have heard about concerning a dog savaging a child has meant, quite correctly, that the dog is destroyed almost immediately.In many cases so should the owners be, but we are far to feeble society for that.

Finally may I recommend Matt Ridley’s latest tome, ‘How Innovation Works’? There is a particularly good chapter on the invention of the dog, that explains the symbiotic relationship that developed between early man and dogs/wolves in prehistoric times, and assisted ‘us’ as we crawled out of the primeval swamp.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Thank you for your reply but, my goodness, what a condescending tone! Just as I said ““ criticise dog ownership and dog lovers treat you as an ignoramus.

Of course dogs are put down once they have done their, often irreparable, damage ““ but it’s a bit too late then! I was actually referring to the dog-apologists who rush to defend dog ownership and belittle any fears.

I will give your (slightly patronising) reading recommendation a miss. Early man may have been helped out of the primeval swamp by domestication of wild dogs / wolves but we are a long way from that now. Pet dogs selfishly maintained by a city apartment dweller are qualitively different from working dogs which serve a useful purpose beyond mere companionship.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Touché!
Gosh you are disappointingly thin skinned, my response was neither meant to be condescending or patronising. Nor have I implied you are an ignoramus, you have done that yourself, twice. It sounds like low self esteem or worse a persecution complex?

No matter, for the record dogs have killed eight in the period 2017-20, four of the victims being children. Over the same period about twelve people have been killed by lighting. This is not to exculpate dog owners, but to
put things into perspective.

In conclusion it saddens me that you have become so angry about this issue. In the past I have admired your chastisement of the unhinged Kevin Ryan, the supercilious Jeremy Smith and the lunatic Nun Yerbizness. Your recent clash with Peter Scott over the existence of God, which left most UnHerd readers in stunned silence was excellent. (7 posts, about 70 lines in 2 days).

So perhaps we may remain allies in out detestation of the Polossi beast, our loathing of NORAID and its lackeys, our belief that a terrorist N bomb is not far off, and other matters of mutual interest?

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

If I were thin skinned I would be retreating from the field crying “not fair”. Instead I am countering your views with my own. Perhaps by expressing those view forcefully I have given you the impression that I am sitting at my keyboard seething with rage against canines”“ not so. However, the opportunity to speak out against dog ownership (proliferating at a alarming rate in my neighborhood) was too good to miss.

Thanks for the figures on death by dangerous dog ““ it helps put things in perspective, but when you use a phrase like “Dear me, such anger in one so young!” you should not be surprised to be described as condescending.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

You’re opening salvo was:
“I might have known you’d turn up. I’ve been expecting you”.

Knowing you were probably born around Coronation Year, that was just too good an opportunity to miss! It wasn’t meant to be condescending, just mildly provocative.

There is a problem with feral dogs, let alone the dog the ‘breeding world’ in general.
However Mr West’s well meaning stupidity in buying such a dog deserves criticism, as I’m sure you agree.

If I may change the subject and plunder your aeronautical knowledge, do you know why Aquila Airways was denied the right to purchase the three Princess Flying Boats in 1955? The similarity with Branson and Concord is striking, yet I have yet to find a convincing answer.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Fair enough but the “you” I was expecting was a generic dog apologist rather than you personally. Didn’t Mr. West say he was persuaded by his wife and family to buy a dog?

I can’t help you with your Aquila Airways question but it does intrigue me. According to Wikipedia the three stored airframes lined up for purchase were suffering from corrosion and had to be scrapped ““ I guess you must have seen that bit of info already. Is there some controversy around the issue?

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Thanks for that, I was somewhat surprised that I had been singled from a cast of many, when I had only offered a minor castigation of the unfortunate Mr West,

Yes indeed, Mr West did capitulate to overwhelming force, but should have carried out exhaustive research.’Time spent on reconnaissance’……….etc.

No controversy that I have heard of over Aquila, but it does seem to have been the same sort of churlishness that motivated BA not to sell to Branson.
I read somewhere that Aquila were offering a million pounds for each aircraft which seems staggering for 1955. Perhaps I misread it, and it was a million for all three, but even so.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  George Lake

Yes a lot of money. Equivalent to nearly £27 million in todays money according to The Bank of England inflation calculator.

George Lake
George Lake
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

A missed opportunity given the timings, but perhaps the terrible 1957 crash would have scuppered them anyway.

Sue Roberts
Sue Roberts
3 years ago

Great piece of writing yesterday Ed! I think there’s a dog breed to suit everyone and lurcher type is definitely not yours.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Great piece today. Also love your book, Ed. You’re so much better than Douglas Murray.

Cleo Sauldog
Cleo Sauldog
3 years ago

A rule of thumb that has guided me well in life is to never trust anyone who doesn’t love dogs or children.

Lisa lisa
Lisa lisa
1 year ago
Reply to  Cleo Sauldog

Most of the people ask that Can puppies eat leaves? Yes, dogs can eat it. Because it is not harmful for puppies.