While pets are usually extremely therapeutic for most people, having a cockapoo called Peanut has merely delivered an additional derivative of worries in my colour-coded wall chart of concerns.
The worst is when people refer to me as “Peanut’s mum”. Granted, I can be a bitch sometimes (see, I’m not above the low-brow gags, there’s something here for everyone) but that is not my role. I’m her owner. I own her. She did not spring from my loins and suckle at my teat. I paid money for her. I arrived, chose her for her comedy eyebrows, paid a man money, put her in a cage and took her away from her actual mother without a backwards glance. And she was the last puppy. Someone should really call PETA.
This badly trained animal is not some stand-in, weak apology to the rest of the world for my barren glovebox. This life form will die in fifteen years (or earlier, if I’m lucky, or careless enough) but yours will continue to bleed you of your time, energy, money and attention until YOU die. Particularly with your irritating new-age brand of attachment parenting.
The only thing weirder than referring to people as their pet’s parent is knowing neighbourhood people by their dog’s names. It’s weird to find yourself saying “Hello Brian”, to a middle-aged woman (although to be fair in Brighton that’s maybe not as unusual as it is elsewhere). But you know everybody’s dog’s name because there is an unwritten code whereby if ones’ dogs stop to sniff each other’s butts, their humans must sniff each other’s butts too (metaphorically speaking, of course). These exchanges are about as humanly satisfying as literally sniffing someone’s butt, which incidentally is a more popular past time in Brighton than in the rest of the country, yet still not that exciting for the most part.
‘What breed?’ Here we go…
‘I thought so!’ All dog owners must pretend to know a lot about other dog breeds and then have strong opinions on their characteristics. It’s the law.
‘How old?’ This conversation will either be met with a surprised raise of the eyebrows – to indicate that your mutt is either smaller than expected for alleged their age or some kind of right bruiser, that you’ve been overfeeding. Either way, you’ve failed.
‘You’re a right little beauty, aren’t you?’ This one is usually directed at the dog but on the odd occasion, me. I’m not without my charms.
This is the format. Every day. Multiple times a day. I could go on. And on. And on. And yes, I realise I’m sending very mixed signals by proclaiming loudly ‘I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT MY DOG ALL THE TIME!’ in a post about my dog. You’ve read it now, and you can’t unread it, despite your objections.