I’ve had a number of dogs over the years. They’ve all been awesome. This was my first dog from when I was about 7. I’m not going to tell you her name as that will get you half way past my banking security and we wouldn’t want that, would we? Anyway, she was the runt of the litter but was awesome for about 12 years. She was just big enough for a game of tug-of-war, just small enough to sleep under just abound any item of furniture that she wanted to and just invisible enough to be able to trip anyone up that she chose. She was smart enough to know when it was time to go on a walk, chilled enough to limit herself to nothing more than a withering look if someone wanted to move her. She was sufficiently clever to learn just enough in the way of tricks so that she could get all the treats she wanted before we gave up trying to teach her any new one. These are all important attributes in a dog and something that you’ll never get from a cat. I’ve nothing against cats as a species; they’ve just not dogs. And they never will be.
Then came Becky. Becky was kinda my sisters dog really but that still brings her into the fold of dogs that I would consider, at least in part, mine. We lived together. I walked her (occasionally) and I played ball with her a lot. Bigger and much faster than our first dog, she was also a lot dumber. However, as I have found out over the years dogs with enough enthusiasm can easily make up for any lack of IQ points and even overcome any other deficit too. Enthusiasm in a dog will always overcome anything else they haven’t got. Period. If you’re looking for a dog to be your BFF, get one with enthusiasm and you can’t go wrong.
Dog number three was Tjeerd. An odd name you may think and you’d be right. This was because he was Dutch. I was living in Holland at this point in my life and in a rather unintentional way swapped a bed for a dog. Tjeerd was a Parson Terrier which is basically a Jack Russel with proper legs. Along with the extended legs, he had the extended enthusiasm too. Mainly for chasing bricks. I kid you not. You may think that chasing bricks is not hard as they have a distinct tendency not to run away, but he chased them none the less and when he caught them, he chewed on them. No one else thought that this was a good idea except Tjeerd. Thankfully his teeth didn’t seem to suffer much for this pastime and so he was passively (on our part) allowed to continue. When not chasing bricks he spent considerable time being photographed. Not that he had much choice in the matter but the was fairly photogenic and was happy to sit still for considerable periods of time whilst people pointed cameras at him. This was usually followed by the awarding of treats for (obviously) being a very good boy. He was and he knew it.
Number four is Maddi. Named after one of my partner’s grandfathers (Maddison), Maddi is, I’m fairly sure, the smartest and most cunning dog I’ve had. She knows that she’s the leader of the local dog pack and will protect it from interlopers at all times. She knows exactly what you want her to do and will occasionally oblige by actually doing it. She is the type of fiercely loyal dog that will never leave your side. Not if you want to go to the loo, to have a bath and especially whilst I’m working. Thankfully I work from home which gives her the opportunity to stare at me all day. She is horrified when I leave the house without her but thankfully extremely forgiving when I return. She also has a set bedtime of 9pm. That is to say that she sits by the living room door at 9pm and whines at me to come up stairs with her. If I do not then she makes it very plain that this is not really acceptable behaviour and it’s only because I feed her that she will put up with it. As for moving away from the door or stopping whining, that isn’t going to happen. She wears me down and I’m often in bed by 9:30pm. OK, so I let her sleep on the end of the bed. So sue me.
And then came Bert. Bertie, as he is often called, is also named after one of my partner’s grandfathers. This time, erm, Bertie. He is too small for a real game of tug of war, he doesn’t have the attention span to maintain a game with any toy. He can’t resist replying to any neighbourhood dog that dares to utter a bark. He can’t resist chasing a squirrel and he really can’t resist chasing birds, even if they are sitting on telegraph wires 25ft up in the air. He can’t resist chasing any ball that you throw, but it is entirely possible he will get bored and drop it half way on the way to bringing it back to you. But in all of these things he brings more enthusiasm to the party than you can throw a stick at. The enthusiasm is endless. Unbounded. Relentless. If only he could keep it focused on just one thing, he could overcome any adversity and defeat any foe. But he can’t. He is as fickle as a fickle thing in Fickleland. He is almost as fickle as he is enthusiastic. He will go far.