Friday, 11 December 2015

Dog Owners- A Spotters Guide

Dog owners themselves fall into a range of very diverse breeds, says Robbie Guillory. Here he takes a tongue-in-cheek look at them

dog-spotters-176-4The runaway is a hybrid, an owner bred without a dog. he’s a sad creature, a cuckoo of the owner kingdom, regarded as an exotic abomination by many traditionalists. he can be spotted in parks and on high streets approaching groups of other owners to ask if ‘anyone has seen my dog’. This is believed to be a ruse, designed to distract an owner before attempting to misappropriate her hound.

Not a predator as such, the runaway is to be pitied, so bereft is he that he has lost his (non-existent) pooch. If you know the breed is operating in your area, the best defence against a runaway making off with your pet is to keep a reasonably life-like canine cuddly toy with you at all times. So emotionally fragile is he that if you say ‘is this him?’ and hand over the soft toy, most likely he’ll clutch it to his bosom and then flee with a cackle.

Dog – Tragically dogless.
General appearance – Shabby, distracted, with large watery, bloodshot eyes.
Characteristics – Irritatingly persistent. Prone to begging.
Temperament – Vulnerable but manipulative.
Most likely to own – A DVD of Disney’s The Incredible Journey.

dog-spotters-176-6MANOR BORN
An aristocrat amongst owners with her bearing and proudly carried head. To those she loves she is faithful and has undeniable courage (particularly when dealing with trespassers or hoodies). The manor born is pastoral in origin, but is now found in country and suburb, where she is an incorrigible organiser. It’s not that she’s bossy – though after a sherry or two she can become strident – but that she has a natural instinct for herding ‘sheep’.

Dog – Labrador (black or chocolate only). Occasionally a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.
General appearance – Well balanced, graceful, aristocratic, dignified, elegant.
Characteristics – Growls when other breeds don’t approach from the rear.
Temperament – Sensitive, dominant. Becomes highly anxious in the presence of socialists.
Most likely to own – an Aga and the complete works of Jilly Cooper.

dog-spotters-176-3MOBILE HOME
The mobile Home is a sad breed where the power dynamic between owner and dog is unbalanced (with the pet calling all the shots). For the beginner, this is identifiable through the way the dog ‘drives’ the human, in much the same way as a fat man drives a truck. Such is the intellectual capacity of the pooch, and the ability of the owner limited, the mobile Home’s dog will force her to carry it in some sort of ridiculous bag or harness, telling her where to go and what to do. Such is the strength of the dog’s control that the owner’s faculties become seriously impaired, leaving her a near husk, only capable of inanities, and easily distracted by shiny, sparkly things. There has long been a debate that an end should be put to this pathetic breed with a worldwide sterilisation order, but it has been answered with a well-crafted defence. It argues for maintaining the ecosystem of owners, as who knows what the effects of such a programme might be on the wider species. At heart there’s a fear that dogs capable of manipulating a mobile Home so successfully might find a way to infect humanity if their preferred host was no longer around.

Dog – Chihuahua, Maltese, Pug, Yorkshire Terrier.
General appearance – Small, dainty, woefully stupid.
Characteristics – Easily trained if offered the right amounts of bling.
Temperament – Always happy and smiling, if never entirely sure what is going on. Permanently quizzical.
Most likely to own – Gucci, Versace et al

A curious creature, the Tipple, when seen out of doors, always looks as though he’s about to embark on a great adventure, with a heavy, waxed waterproof and stout Hunter boots, and yet never gets further than the local pub. Once safely ensconced in a warm corner with a pint, he settles down to a day of reading the racing news, dog slumped mournfully at his feet. The standard bark of the Tipple is, ‘Just one more, Jack, then I’ll be getting back – I only popped out to walk the dog.’

Dog – long-suffering Border Terrier.
General appearance – Red-faced, greying, usually with a tweed cap on crown. Short and wizened, but spry when someone buys him a drink.
Characteristics – Keen for sure things at the races, always on the point of going home.
Temperament – Affable, gentle, of no harm to anyone.
Likely to own – A prodigious drinks cabinet.

The Wag is one of the most iconic and glamorous categories of dog owner. The breed standard includes long legs, delicate features and voluminous fur (in ‘bottle blonde’ or ‘gypsy black’) on the crown. The Wag is famous for her imperious expression with which she looks at – and through – any stranger. The Wag’s sole concern is grooming, and she will spend hours at the parlour. The Wag was originally bred for hunting, and is always on the lookout for a tasty catch to live off. Her method of killing is regarded by many as distasteful, cornering her quarry in a nightclub or Prada outlet before bleeding him dry over months or even years.

Dog – Bichon Frisé, Pug, French Bulldog or Papillon.
General appearance – Head held proudly. Gives the impression of power and wealth. Dignified. Simply stunning to observe in motion (walking through Harrods). Characteristics – Bores easily. Temperament – Dignified and aloof with a fierceness when faced with a dwindling bank balance.
Most likely to own – A mirror or 12.

This is an edited extract from Dog Owners: A Spotter’s Guide, by Robbie Guillory, with illustrations by Judith Hastie, published by Freight Books, priced £7.99.

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