“What a fine pair” said the lady as I entered the park. “He just wants to show you his big stick” said another on the green. “He just seems to adore other people’s balls,” said chap to husband.” Sometimes it all just gets a bit “Carry on Walking your dog,” in my neck of the woods.
Bodily functions are a part of dog ownership. From the obvious picking up poo to the merits of squeezing anal glands. Optimum timing for castration and where to walk a dog on heat. All these topics are discussed and opinions proffered on the open greens of North London.
For me there is always something joyful about watching two strangers politely trying to untangle their dogs that are frantically trying to hump each other. “I’m so sorry but he just can’t seem to get enough action at the moment,” said one lady of pensionable age as her Welsh terrier effectively attempted to rape some chap’s schnoodle. It’s bloody fascinating social anthropology in action.
In no other context, or certainly not for a few years, have I found myself discussing how randy a male can be even though his bollocks were chopped off a mere week ago. “Aargh still some spirit in the old boy,” I heard myself saying in a sort of transcendentally middle-aged way.
This laissez-faire approach to sex is having a knock-on effect to life in general. (Don’t panic no one is actually having it) A friend couldn’t drive home quickly enough when he found himself engaged in a lengthy discussion of sperm with my six-year old daughter. What he didn’t know is that this all stemmed from our explanation of our dog’s castration.
I actually think that this exposure to bodily functions is one of the real benefits of pet ownership for children- along with a sense of care, compassion and commitment. A friend explained how her daughter now shares the daily responsibility of using an earbud to reinsert the prolapsed willy of the family guinea pig. And so. Tap, jazz, ballet, synchronised French horn. Who’s better prepared for real life? My bet is on the earbud kid.