Friday, December 16, 2005

Doggie Doggie Doggie - Oi Oi Oi!**

(With apologies to Gareth from the UK series 'The Office' and to all Australian male cricket fans in general).

I read in the paper today that in Ireland a dog, imaginatively named Doggie, had originally become infamous for somehow surviving a ride mashed like roadkill on the front of a car that had hit him. He travelled more than 100km before the driver (or anyone else on the road) noticed and sought some veterinary treatment for the black and white mongrel.

Unfortunately Doggie's lucky star finally went 'poof' and went out. He got too close to a delivery truck that was carrying in groceries for his owner and was subsequently run down in his own backyard. Poor little mangled mutt - sometimes it just doesn't pay to be a boy who insists on cocking his leg and having a wizz on every car tyre in range.

Despite his sad demise, it is to be hoped that his owner(s) do something to commemorate his remarkable survival of the earlier run-over. Could they create a dog-shaped bull bar or sew up a wheelcover made from his black and white coat? After all, Doggie won't be needing it in whatever spiritual plane he's now on.

Which leads me - rather clumsily - on to another topic regarding the use of dead animal skins for other purposes. Here in South Oz, the cats on Kangaroo Island have mostly turned feral and prefer to catch, tease and eat native species of birds and mammals rather than introduced pesky species like the rabbit or fox. The council has therefore embarked on a culling program to rid the island of the feral felines and also urge the owners of domestic cats to keep them inside as much as possible.

Both strategies seem fair, but the local media here has filled the obligatory 'Non Christmas Outrage Story' requirement by reporting that the skins of the dead cats have been used to make hats and stubby holders. This has produced a truckload of letters to the Editor from angry cat lovers who claim that it is cruel.

Surely any accusations of cruelty can only apply to a living creature and not when it is dead. Otherwise most of us could be accused of promoting cruelty just by wearing shoes. Be honest - unless you've got on hemp rope espadrilles or those stupid looking plastic sneakers adored by fashion tragics, what are your shoes made of - leather. Most likely kangaroo leather. Yes, Skippy. Roo shoes are all over the world because currently it is the most commonly-used leather. I don't have a problem with wearing roo on my feet or having sheep wool lining my ugg boots in winter either.

I think a cat hat would be rather cosy during winter, especially if each pelt still had the tail attached to it. It couldn't look any dumber than those fox fur-lined hats with the flaps over the ears. The stubby holder leaves me rather puzzled though - is it using the leather of the cat or the fur; and if it is the fur, does it go on the outside or the inside (thus getting damp) in order to cool down the beer?

Why stop at those two items - why not make belts out of their tails: they'd feel nice. Or how about tempting the gullible with some fur bikinis ala Rachel Welch in 10,000 BC? Perhaps they could be worn by gals who hate getting wet. There's always the classic tacky approach of handy coin purses from the non-neutered males' um, thingies.

Rather than being cruel, such use should instead be considered environmentally friendly. If an animal was hunted down by our stone-age, dark-age and mediaevel forbears, then the entire animal was used, not just the juicy cutlets growing around its arse. The intestines, organs, head, skin and fur were all either eaten or treated so that they fed and clothed the members of the tribe/family/feudal serfs and had plenty left over for winter.

If we pause to remember young Doggie mentioned much earlier above, he was a much loved pet presumably now being mourned by his family, but whether he was buried in the back yard under the fig tree or now sits in a china urn on their mantel piece, he's wasted. Not as in 'wasted away', but as in 'not being used to his full extent.' If we can have cat beer coolers and roo shoes, then maybe we should think about having dog doonas and poochie pillow cases to save burial space and vets' cremation costs and end up with Fido providing much longer service without the inconvenience of the nasal nukeing Fido farts at TV time.

After all, dogs aren't exactly known for their work ethic are they? With the exception of sheep dogs, the typical family pet dog sleeps for at least 16 hours per day. The other eight hours sees him eating, crapping, lapping up his water, joyously going for jogs/walks with you, licking himself, barking at the postie, digging aimlessly and chewing your old sherrin. No jobs completed there, unless you count the three he did near the doormat. What has Rover achieved in his eight hours of idleness?

Many's the time I've looked at our dog as she's lazed on the jogger tramp sunning herself, watching me slave away and said, "You know, if some breeder could come up with a dog who weeds the garden, it'd change suburban life as we know it." The fact that this remark is met with a happy-yet-vacant stare doesn't stop me from hoping. If we aim a little lower, it would still be absolutely marvellous if there was a dog who could take out the wheelie bins each week: that would surely be worth the cost of Chum, Schmackos and the old handful of cheezels.

In the meantime we should take heart from Doggie and pray that some huge global company like Chrylser/Holden have taken note of his dimensions to help them designing impact-reducing bull bars and doggie reverse mirrors for their future models.

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