Susan Morrison: Wail Caesar! It is a sad old tale

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Last week, as I was crossing Nicolson Square on a beautiful summer’s evening, I made the acquaintance of a most charming young couple, and their beautiful dog, Cleo. She’s a sandy colour with very sad eyes, but with a tail that goes like the clappers.

She also has a beautiful nature and got on with everyone who came rushing, like me, to help her owners after they had both been savaged by a big brown dog called Caesar.

Now, Caesar had not been on a lead. He had a lead on, but his owner clearly felt that restraint on this bulky, high speed, slobber monster stifled his naturally exuberant nature, and so it was flung over his shoulder like the silk scarf of a theatrical bon viveur.

Caesar had been availing himself of the facilities of Nicolson Square, and by that I mean reconfiguring the herbaceous borders, manuring the paths and playing a charming game called ‘how many fangs can you bare before they scream?’ when he spotted Cleo.

At that time Cleo was on her leash, between her owners, waiting for a bus, and apparently dozing on the warm pavement.

With the speed of Tory benefit cut, Caesar hurtled for Cleo’s throat.

This is how Cleo’s lovely owners came to be injured. They both sustained deep and savage cuts to their hands as they tried to protect their dog.

Now, I am sure we can all agree with Caesar’s owner, a skeletal woman who suddenly emerged from the shrubbery like a sort of malignant fairy, that they shouldn’t have put their hands in Caesar’s way. Most pertinent advice, I thought, and helpfully delivered at volume sufficient to attract the attention of passengers in passing aircraft, and at a pitch high enough to ram that message home to dogs in Alaska.

And doubtless we are all in sympathy with her assertion that her dog, whilst apparently so savage that he’s just launched a pre-emptive strike on a dog so docile she was actually asleep on the pavement, has the perfect right to roam unmolested around the environs of Nicolson Square, even if it makes the Baskerville Hound look like a puppy flogging loo roll.

And who on earth did we think we were to push, chastise and – OK, I admit it – wallop this pinnacle of doggy devotion? Why, this Gandhi of the canine world wouldn’t hurt a fly.

She vanished around the corner, dragging the unfortunate Caesar behind her, this victim of random mob violence by humans who had taken the time out of their busy day to shove hands into his mouth, wallop him over the head and smack him about the tail. And don’t forget that sleeping dog, who probably lied, and had somehow provoked poor Caesar into an attack to save his own skin.

Caesar got in a quick snarl at the number 47 bus. That dog’s got ambition.

We’re the ones to pay the price

It was a bad end to a good day, and one we are all going to pay for. Think about the cost incurred by the police and the paramedics attending that evening, not to mention the attention both young folk would have required at A&E.

Any consoling snack for Cleo won’t be at expense of the public purse, but future action against Caesar and his owner will be. All this money wasted by one thoughtless idiot who should never own a dog.

Get the cheque book out, taxpayer.

Time for owners to pass the test

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame Caesar. It’s not his fault he’s left to run berserk in a public park, snarling at passers-by, not to mention passing buses, and liberally fouling where he may. He’s not to blame, and neither are all the other dogs we see left to run unrestrained, or worse, cooped up in flats with insufficient exercise and probably not the best of food.

You see, I like dogs. As a matter of fact, I like dogs so much I won’t own one. I haven’t got the time for dog ownership. Dogs need training, exercise and companionship – and if you can’t give those commitments, don’t get a dog.

Perhaps we should introduce a dog ownership test, if only to save dogs from seriously stupid people who treat living animals like a sort of moving cuddly toy.

Mind you, Caesar wasn’t that cuddly, but I suspect that with the right training, he could pass any test, unlike his owner, who’d probably fail everything including a drugs test.