Sunday, 4 May 2008

Our Dog: Not Big and Not Clever

I've wrote about Max, our West Highland White Terrier, before; but this weekend I've been musing on the downward passage of life we must all eventually take and couldn't help but think that his age is starting to show. Not least when his instinct overcomes his ability. Take, for example his propensity for chasing aeroplanes; we live on the inbound flight path to Manchester Airport; a lot of planes fly over our house and Max takes exception to every single one of them. The sad thing is that I understand why this habit has persisted despite our every intervention. It's quite simple doggy psychology really: he sees the intruding plane; barks at it and chases it; it goes away - success that reinforces itself every time. Today though, he was awoken from his slumber by an invading plane and his head didn't come around quite as quickly as his legs so, as he chased it up the steps he tripped, banging his chin and dazing himself - not that that stopped him. It was a chink in his otherwise solid canine armour.

I know how he feels - not long ago I saw an officer of the law chasing a young rapscallion and pulled over in the car to help. Instinctively I sprinted after the thieving urchin only to be pulled up breathless and clutching my strained groin 100 yards on - the urchin glanced back, slowed and strolled on insouciantly - a chink in my already creaking armour.

I think that Max and I should stick to our strengths - as I'm writing I'm about to prod him with my toe to see if I can wake him to go to bed. I bet I struggle to wake him and I bet neither of us stop trying to do things that we really ought not.

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