I'm aware that the following post will mark me down as an old curmudgeon. But I defy any cute dog owner (meaning anyone who owns a cute dog, rather than a cute Dog-Owner) not to feel a modicum of frustration at being unable to walk down the street with one's pooch, without being stopped by half a dozen women wanting to pet your pet (for some reason, it's always women!).
I get it, dogs are adorable, and my two-year old Yorkiepoo is especially friendly and fluffy. But when he practically dislocates my arm, pulling frantically on his lead because somebody three metres away is blowing kisses at him; or I'm trying to hand a parcel in at the Post Office, but can't get to the cashier because my dog is lying on the floor having its belly rubbed by a stranger, it's just a teensy bit irritating. It also makes it rather tricky to teach my pup good behaviour, when there are so many humans distracting him at every turn. When he's off the lead and running free, on the beach or in the woods, all bets are off and anyone who can catch him is welcome to stroke, tickle, pamper and play with him as much as their heart desires. Otherwise, hands off please!
If you think I'm just being super-grumpy, here's a prime example, which may help you understand how I feel:
Last Friday, I was due to collect my son from a residential three-day trip at a prospective school. I was late (thanks to a delayed ferry), and I hadn't seen or spoken to him for three days. I knew he was nervous about going on the trip, and didn't know anyone else there; I was understandably very keen to get to him as soon as I could. When I arrived at the school, I was told he was waiting in the dining room, which was another brisk, five minute walk from the car-park; I raced there as fast as I could with my dog in tow (who can't legally be left in a car). The dining hall was crowded with pupils, parents and teachers, all milling around, chatting. I weaved through the crowds, trying to locate my son, but at the edge of my consciousness, I was aware of another mother badgering me…"Excuse me!", I heard her trill, "Excuse me". Call me a Tiger Mother, but I wasn't going to stop until I'd found my son, no matter how sharp this woman's elbows were. Her tenacity, however, was formidable, and she followed me all around the dining room, until I eventually caught up with my boy and enveloped him in a bear hug. I didn't have time to open my mouth and ask my son how his trip had been, before she was asking, "Excuse me, can my little girl pet your dog?". I was speechless at the insensitivity of the woman. She must have known that I hadn't seen my child for three days (since she would only have been there for the same purpose), and that it was HE that deserved my full attention right then, not her, her daughter, or our dog. I'm afraid to say that we made a hasty exit.
Is it irrational to feel irritated, or am I just not cut out to be a Cute Dog owner? Perhaps I should have got an English Bulldog (last year's winner of the Ugliest Dog Award) if I wasn't prepared to share my pup with strangers who fancy a casual canine cuddle.
I'm often tempted, when asked the usual trio of questions about his name, age and breed, to lie blatantly and tell people that his name is Killer, he's 103 and prone to random acts of aggression. Looking at the docile ball of fluff that is Buddy would definitely confuse them, but it might at least add some amusement to the daily interjections….
Last updated 17:33 on 11 January 2019