It’s A Dog’s Life – August 2018
This month, Rolo the Border Terrier ponders how dogs can all be cut from the same cloth, but be so different!
Now I might be a dog of limited understanding, but it seems to me that a lot of trouble is caused in this world by perceived differences between people, which is a bit odd. Consider dogs. Bearing in mind we are all descended from a common ancestor who spent a lot of time howling at the moon, we are quite a diverse bunch. This is perfectly illustrated if you happen to have a Chihuahua and a Great Dane in the same room. One is a feisty, independent, free thinker, and the other is affectionate, gentle and loves people, although probably not as convenient if they want to sit on your lap.
Then there’s me and my apprentice, Teddy. We are both Border Terriers but we don’t even look alike. Teds is about a third bigger and is quite sturdy. It’s a bit like having my own bodyguard, which has its uses. Teds has got the traditional Border Terrier otter shaped head, although why he needs that when he’s a dog and not an otter, is quite frankly beyond me. My nose is quite long and pointy, which, to quote a rather sinister canine from folk tales, is ‘all the better to sniff you with my dear’! It’s also handy for sticking through small gaps and getting into the corner of popcorn cartons which just demonstrates my high level of evolution.
Even our behaviour is different. I’m definitely my own dog. I see the petty rules and restrictions imposed by ‘Them Indoors’ as a framework around which to manoeuvre and I don’t really care if they get cross – what’s the worst they can do? Teddy, on the other hand, is a people pleaser and cannot cope if he is not in favour. He gets so stressed by my disobedience that sometimes he obeys commands that he knows are intended for me. He is also a dog who likes a lie-in and needs to be coaxed out of his bed in stages. It takes him about half an hour to get downstairs in the morning, which is only marginally quicker than ‘Her Indoors’. Honestly, you’d never guess I was the dog that was ten years older.
My attitude to other dog breeds has nothing to do with difference but is shaped by one simple criteria, whether I like them or not. I know this is a bit subjective and might be influenced by things like the way they look at me or their smell, but I apply it across the board; big, small, flat faced, long ears, male, female, young or old. And if it all gets out of hand in the doggy diplomacy department then there’s always ‘Her Indoors’ to sort it out. I don’t even discriminate between species; I apply the universal rule of ‘what can they offer me?’ across the board. I’m a great champion of diversity!