Tuesday, September 27, 2005

If dogs could vote

The best online paper in Oz, the Age, recently reported that Toby, a Jack Russell, was recently registered to vote in New Zealand’s recent election:

As I sat outside today, eating my lunch with one hand and throwing the soggy, drool-covered tennis ball over and over to Milly with the other, it got me thinking: what ideal conditions would she, a Jorgi (indeterminate mix of Jack Russell and Corgi) vote for?

Now that I’m inside and on the poota, she made her first wish very obvious: the availability of tennis balls hurled long distances by people who don’t throw like girls all the time. She’s now asleep at my feet, in her blue beanbag which is now accentuated with orange fur but is clearly dreaming of what life would be like if she got to stamp her paw on a form in a polling booth anytime soon……. What's going on in that fuzzy little brain of hers?

I would go crazy for a doggy theme park – a Doggy Doo World, if you’ll humour me. For my vote it would include:

  • Bones to find, dig for and chew – the pongier, the better;
  • Permission to freely sniff and study any poos left by other dogs in the park;
  • Cats to chase; birds to actually catch;
  • Legs to hump (maybe not for me necessarily being a neutered gal, but I’m trying to cater to all of the canine customer needs); and
  • Piles and piles of fresh, ‘blood and bone’ fertilized dirt for endless, encouraged digging.

Food issues would be of major concern for my fellow furry-faced voters, and I’m not talking about that Derryn Hinch guy here. My owner must be persuaded that Schmackos are not for occasional treats but should be lying around the house for me to avail myself of at any time. Other daily dietary requirements are bacon rinds, the left over roasting pan complete with the fatty remnants and huge gobs of gravy, thawed out scotch fillet steaks and chocolate biscuits. Oh and the opportunity to lick any toddler or small child’s face whilst they are eating an ice-cream. When living with humans, we must also be permitted to jump onto the tables to sample the meal and lick plates as well as have the freedom to sniff out any crotch under the table that appeals to our delicate noses….

We dogs are sick and tired of being relegated to a cold, leaky kennel or the inhospitality of the laundry and are going to do something about it! We demand to have the first pick of where to sleep – either at the head of the bed, under the doona, the best sofa, the top of the clean laundry pile or on the towels in the linen cupboard. It hardly needs mentioning that we must also have the best spot in front of the fire place.

Walkies, of course, should be available to us all day, every day, regardless of the weather. Owners must rug up and be prepared to take out us, their furry friends, in the rain, snow, hail, sleet, wind and heat-wave conditions. Runs would be even better – out in a field or a school oval with no reprimands to “Come back here, Scruffy!” to interrupt our much-needed workout.

My view about cars would surely be one that you humans also support. My canine buddies would like to see the virtual banning of the automobile, except in cases to drive us to theme parks, running tracks or places to buy our all-important foodstuffs (even we know that Good-Os don’t grow on trees). Not only would this greatly reduce the use of petrol, but it would also increase road safety for all. Instead, I propose to have buses on call for myself and any other dog who longs to feel the wind in their faces – surely you people can see the sheer exhilaration in our faces as our beady little eyes light up to manic-mode and our tongues hang out of our heads to the bottom of the car door – surely you wouldn’t deny us this basic canine right? Anyhow, as I was saying, these fresh-air freighters would be systematically customized to ensure that every single window can be opened up enough for each furry passenger hang out their heads and feel the joy. Human riders too, if they feel like it.

These heavenly buses will take us anywhere we wish to go, including places that are currently prohibited to us – restaurants, butchers shops, delicatessens and supermarkets. We have noses and would like to actually use them.

We may be relatively easy to please, but there are still a few things in our lives that we’d heartily like to see the end of:

  • Enforced baths. With one proviso – if it is a voluntary venture into the world of water and accidental cleanliness, then it’s OK. A swim in the sea, a splash in a creekbed or wallow in a mudhole is considered acceptable. If we do end up feeling too clean, then we are obligated to find a dead seagull to roll in before we return home, without any negative comment or banishment to the kennel by you owners.
  • Vet visits must end – particularly neutering. We dogs would most willingly be prepared set aside the huge sums of funding that you guys have used for trips to the moon and the Iraq ‘war’ to instead undertake the essential research and development into less harrowing ways of controlling our doggy population.
  • Vet visits number two – on no account is a dog, after undertaking life-saving surgery, to be sent home with a plastic funnel around their collar. Not only does it prevent the sheer relief and pleasure of scratching, but it is also extremely humiliating to bang one’s head against the door due to being considerably wider than pre-operation. It also provides the neighbour’s cat and other dogs with too easy a target to ridicule and us dogs loathe being laughed at. With yes, at: no.
  • Silly outfits. Absolutely no stupid tartan coats, twee booties or cute hats are to be forced on us, either inside the home or out in public. No reindeer antlers or santa hats for Christmas cards either........
  • No stupid names. We, Proud and Noble dogs of Earth, would eventually like to publish a list of acceptable names. ‘Pepper’, ‘Scruffy’, ‘Fluffy’ and ‘Mutley’ will not be on that list. Instead, we want real names, befitting our status in the food chain as meat eating, outdoorsy, athletic and dynamic animals. Names like Beefeater, Spike, Zeus and Warrior for the boys; and Beauty, Pamela Anderson, Paris and Nirvana for the gals.

We want to see more of:

  • Washing games. Washing put on the line to dry should be considered an approved sport for us dogs to try to tear off where and whenever we feel like. Dogs have fur and no need for clothes, so neither should humans.
  • Chewing. You name it - shoes, doormats, outdoor furniture, mulch, sunflower petals, car seat covers and the household childs’ soft toy collection – carte blanche.
  • Tummy rubs and ear scratching. To be done by our owners on at least an hourly basis.
  • Barking. All night long if we bloody well feel like it.
  • Choice. If you humans yell out ‘Fetch!’, ‘Roll Over!’, ‘Sit!’ or ‘Come Back’ we’ll do it only if we feel like it.

Milly woke up, her face still groggy but her tail wagging at me. “Was it a nice dream you had?” She cocked her head to one side, in that 'I-have-no-idea-what-you’re-saying-but-you’re-smiling-and-your-lips-are-moving-and-you-might-take-me-for-a-walk' hopeful kind of way that only dogs have.

“Wanna come with me to collect the girl from school, hey Millster? Millstone?” She was instantly up out of her bean bag and rearing to go now.
“Wanna come Milligram? Hey Millimetre?” I jingled the lead which caused her to do five frantic happy laps around the sofa.
“Whaddaya say, cute girl, huh Milly Vanilli, hey?” Her paws scrabbled at my jeans in her excitement. I ruffled her coat and tickled her tummy. "Come on then!"

So much for no silly names then, as long as a walk was on the cards.

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