Thursday, 25 October 2007
Are Pets Really Like Their Owners?
Browsing previous blog posts I realised that there is a member of our clan I have written little about. Our dog Max is very much a member of the Crofty team and indeed contributed greatly to our week away in the Lake District. It's perhaps relevant to my not mentioning him that, as I write, I wonder whether you will reflect with a wry smile - those of you that know me- that Max is rather like me. I am not so sure - he is Mrs C's dog, without a doubt. She is the one he adores and bends over backwards to please; I, on the other hand, am sometimes useful for walks, food and entertainment when all other options have first been exhausted.
All that said, he is an endearing little chap - a West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, as they are popularly known; but I do rather tire of people pointing out to me how cute he is. I am often stopped in the street by old ladies or primary school age girls to point out this fact. Max grins up at me as they pet and fuss him; the look he gives me tells me that he is laughing up his sleeve as I ponder on the fact that people really can not see the obvious factors in his breeding that belie the truth. It's there in the name: terrier; the same name that when attached to the words 'Staffordshire Bull' strike fear into those same cute loving folk - but the dogs are essentially from the same mould.
This explains why I am always pulling him out of situations that he throws himself into with careless abandon: flying, teeth bared, at much larger dogs for instance. It also explains why he is so stubborn and wilful - dog obedience for Max consists of doing only approximately what is asked, unless it is Mrs C doing the asking of course when he becomes pathetically eager to please. I on the other hand, must repeat my request five times in an increasingly loud voice. Similarly - and I do hope my neighbours read this, Max's breeding might explain some of my odder moments to them - if on setting out for a walk I stride out in the wrong direction, he simply sits down and waits for me to change direction to the one in which he wants to go. I, of course, refuse to be cowed by the dog (if you know what I mean) and will stand there arms folded until he loses patience and comes with me, this also, sometimes, involves a conversation between us. To date, in the eleven years we have had him, I have won on a very small number of times by dragging him after me up the street, claws scraping on the tarmac of the footpath. It isn't worth it - he still wins in the end.
A final breed feature worth mentioning is that, without being unkind, he is not very bright. An example of this was when in a popular outdoor shop in Keswick last week, shoppers turned and stared to see him square up to a much larger dog sat in the store. They were nose-to-nose, motionless waiting for the first move upon which fur would fly. What Max was not alive to was that, as he growled intently, people were laughing at him. Why? Because the dog he was squared up to was simply a life size stuffed toy placed there to encourage donations to the local Mountain Rescue Team. Bless.
Here is a five second video clip of him on my knee, on a boat trip on Lake Derwent. It is only five seconds long because he tried to leap from my knee over the side of the boat to catch drops of water thrown by the bow wave and was most put out when I stopped him.
He is cute though.