Friday, 28 January 2011

Philosophy of keeping dogs

HEY! LOOK at this - another blog so soon. My principal daily activity is walking the two dogs. It matters little how active or idle I may feel, the dogs need exercise and it's either me or my dear wife as has to do it. In many respects our animals are little different from us humans - they have needs and preferences and some of them have to be met or we humans must accept the consequences. So if I don't want smelly offerings on the carpet the dogs must have the opportunity to dispose of them outside.

Dogs have been part of my life all of my life - so much so that it is hard to imagine life without one. I complain about the onus, the millstone of keeping animals, the self-imposed burden of answering their daily needs. I groan when I think of taking them on holiday and not being able to lie-in every morning like normal people.

They take up room in the car, we must remember their beds and bowls and food, leads, the whistle - there's nearly as much fuss ensuring we leave nothing of theirs' behind as there is about our own packing. I swear at them, I shout. If it all ends up no fun for me, the dogs make it clear it's no fun for them.

Macbeth (white West Highland terrier), with his wee sawn-off legs is forever falling behind when we're out walking: Inka (black Labrador) is hyperactive and thrusts ahead. Our walks are punctuated with my bellows to Macbeth to catch up, and threats of hideous repurcussions if Inka gets too far ahead. You'd wonder why I keep them, indeed sometimes I do too. But they become part of life and provide someone like me with a focus to certain parts of the day. If I didn't have dogs I'd be fatter and lazier than I am already. And despite all the abrasive language and occasional ill will - because they have distinct minds of their own and are not frightened to try and exert them - they seem to think I'm just the sort of alpha dog they need to complete their circle of happiness. If they have to endure my ill-nature - well that goes with the territory.

Would I change things? Get rid of the dogs? Naah! Mostly we live together in comfortable harmony with only the occasional spat - much like the rest of life really.

So there's my philosophical rant for today. perhaps I'll be a bit more practical and down-to-earth next time.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Rising from the ashes of good intentions

IT'S EMBARRASSING to realise how long it's been since last I blogged. Good intentions expressed last year, for goodness sake, came to nothing but I'm awash with New Year purpose and 2011 is my year of the blog - so watch this space.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences of the countryside and the outdoors and to supplement my other, now, long term blog and hopefully direct other traffic to it. manwithtwodogs is in its ninth year now and appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper. Writing my weekly article gives me the greatest pleasure which I believe is shared by a wide readership. I can't claim to be a great expert on all country matters but I know I know a lot more than some and that others know a great deal more than me. That doesn't matter really - what counts is protecting our countryside from our own human depredations so that we leave a legacy for future generations worth having. We humans are the only species on this earth who are capable of doing this and if we don't care about the world we live in we'll all come back in our afterlives as slimy, ugly creatures.

It isn't always necessary to do positive things. As often as not we can be effective by avoiding negative acts - the main thing is to care that whatever we do, or decide not to do, is undertaken with well-informed intentions.