Saturday, August 11, 2007

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Yesterday, I was reading "Closer" magazine, on the bus, when I came across one of their "burning question" features. The title was, "Is It Cruel to Take Your Dog Clubbing?" This featured in the 28th July-3 August edition of "Closer." It was inspired by a furore that arose after Britney Spears was reported to have taken her Yorkshire Terrier puppy to clubs with her, in LA. Supposedly, "animal lovers" were "up in arms" over Britney's actions.
Arguing the "no" side, that it's not cruel, is Julian Bennett, a TV presenter, here in the UK. He owns a Dachshund, Lulu, and regularly takes her clubbing with him. He reasons, quite cogently, that if a dog is used to something, there is nothing wrong with the dog being in that environment. Bennett has had Lulu for four years and she's grown up in a show business environment. He points out that celebrities usually sit in quieter, VIP areas, in these clubs anyway, so the dog wouldn't have to cope with the noisiest parts. Arguing the "yes" side, that it is cruel, is Shauna Lowry, also a British TV presenter. As I read her words, I found myself horrified that I have to share this planet with such loons.
Shauna Lowry starts off saying, "I'm a Trustee of Battersea dogs home..." Immediately, she's trying the discredited, "argument from authority." Listen honey, anyone with a bit of money can become a trustee of a charity. That doesn't make you an animal expert. You're a TV presenter, for Pete's sake, not a scientist. Then she goes on to assume a lot of things which she has no evidence to conclude. She guesses that Britney's dog would be "shaking from fear" and starts guessing Britney's mental state, accusing her of only taking the dog along as an "attention seeking device." Lowry goes on to brag that "we" (Battersea dog's home) turned down a request to adopt a dog by Robbie Williams, the pop music superstar, because he travels a lot and wouldn't be a "proper owner." Even though she admits that Robbie said he'd have staff around to care for the dog when he is away, she dismisses that as not being " a responsible owner." What? What are people supposed to do who own pets, never go away? Is this woman barking mad?
Britney's dog is a Yorkshire Terrier. It just so happens that my good friend, Mucky Sarah, has a Yorkshire Terrier, too. I happened to call Sarah, last night, to chat. During the conversation, I mentioned this article from "Closer." Sarah told me she was turned down by Battersea Dog's home, as well. As a single, working woman, she would need to leave the dog at home during the day. Sarah was planning to hire a professional dog walker to take her dog out, during the day, while she was at work. The muppets at Battersea dog's home said that wasn't good enough! Sarah also told me that single people, looking to adopt a dog from Battersea, have to undergo a lifestyle assessment, before they can adopt a dog. What? In a dazzling display of flagrant discrimination, families aren't required to go through this rubbish. Sarah echoed my own sentiment, that a dog is better off in a home, with a loving owner prepared to arrange care for it, than locked up in one of Battersea's cages. People adopt children with less screening than this. These are dogs, for Pete's sake!
I don't know where Sarah ended up getting her dog from, but she's so sweet. She has accompanied Sarah and I out, even attending a pub with us. To me, it would be more cruel keeping the dog in Sarah's flat, rather than taking her out. The dog seems to love going out and about. When I was married, we had a lovely dog, a Golden Retriever named, Elsie. My evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, raised Elise from a puppy and she was very well behaved. Elsie was my second favorite pet of all time, behind my own pet cat, Misty. As the Black Queen and I both worked, and my step-children attended school, Elsie would spend days home alone. If we were going away on holiday, we would arrange for my in-laws to have Elsie.
To use a popular, British expression, Shauna Lowry and the people at Battersea dogs home seem to have lost the plot. They truly give me the impression that the inmates are running the asylum. As long as Battersea engage in such absurd policies, I will not be donating a single penny to them. Robbie Williams' dog would lead a better life than I do. The same can be said for Britney's, pictured clutched to Britney's breast. People like Lowry remind me of the old sayings about "mad Englishmen" and that the English love their dogs more than they love people. All the dogs of the world should turn around and bite Shauna Lowry, and the people at Battersea, on the ass.

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