We’ve always been a cat-loving family – well, what I mean is, two of them live here.
However, recently I have been thinking of acquiring a dog. I daydream of the family walking the faithful hound along the beach, or sitting of an evening with the noble beast stretched out by the fire (we haven’t actually got one of those either, come to think of it).
Loads of people have cats and dogs, it’s not like it runs against the laws of physics, does it?
I am vaguely familiar with the ways of dogs. Many years ago we had a dog called Whisky. He was a cross border collie. He wasn’t cross at all. In fact he was a perfectly lovely wee thing, and as smart as a coat of paint. He wasn’t actually our dog. He belonged to my Uncle Bobby.
That wee dog was a member of the family. Hardly a photo was taken in 14 years without Whisky sitting front and centre, the epitome of canine enthusiasm. He did dog things well. Heck, he did dog things very well. He did the walk thing with boundless energy and stick chasing thing with the same manic passion you see in certain types of American teenager.
He could answer the phone, fetch the right family member to speak to and frequently made cups of tea. OK, I made that last one up, but only because no kitchen was equipped with dog-friendly kettles. He was one smart dog.
So yes, I thought, a dog. Anyway those two cats have had it their own way for far too long . . .
And then, from the furthest recess of my memory, came the image of that other dog – Whisky’s predecessor, Patches. Our dog.
Whisky could have found the Higgs-Boson particle. Patches couldn’t find his own dog bowl. Walking that dog was a drag, in every sense of the word. Sticks lay uncollected as Patches stared at them with an expression of stupidity so intense he looked like Paris Hilton trying to read the instructions for microwave lasagne.
Every new dawn was greeted with another doggie doo minefield in the hall. Never again.
Embarrassment is name of the game
Mind you, these days you’d probably have to be a little more careful naming the dog. Lurching about Leith Links shouting “Whisky” at the top of your lungs might give entirely the wrong impression.
Likewise you’d be best to avoid the name of another long- dead dog in the family, who was called, and I kid you not, Tarty.
You try hollering that on a Leith street and see where it gets you.
Daft mutt got his Vickers in twist for cars
THE only time Patches the canine duffus ever showed any enthusiasm, unfortunately, was when a car drove past.
Rin Tin Dim would suddenly take off, barking and howling, in an effort to catch a Capri or a Morris Minor. In the case of the Morris, to be fair, he could give it a good run for its money.
Matters came to a head when Patches took on the Number 240 bus. A collision was only narrowly avoided. The driver was forced to brake with such ferocity that industrial quantities of springloaded dandruff whiplashed from his scalp and swirled around him in the rising currents of BO, turning his cabin into a snow globe.
Patches was delivered over to Uncle Bobby, with instructions to tame the beast, or at least get the dog to chase and catch a decent car for a change.
It was not to be. Uncle Bobby lived under the flight path for Glasgow Airport. As an ageing Vickers Viscount thundered into land, Patches, driven wild doubtless by the challenge, hurled himself after it. He cleared the road, he cleared the lights, he even cleared the fence.
He was never seen again. But if anyone in the Paisley area is currently remodelling their garden and finds the tail of a BEA Vickers under the lawn, then Patches finally caught his prey.
Maybe I’ve hurt their felines . .
Perhaps we’re not dog people after all. Anyway, the cats keep eyeing me with suspicion. You’d think they knew what I was planning. Too clever for their own good, those two. Just as well they can’t read, eh? Or e-mail . . .