One morning early last week, I was awoken at some ungodly hour by a strange noise. It sounded somewhere between the rasping of sandpaper, and a drain being unblocked; after a few minutes lying dazedly in bed, wondering whether it was going to stop, I finally decided to track down the source. It was coming from the floor of the room and after tracking down my glasses, I leaned over the side of the bed to be greeted with the disturbing sight of one of our dogs, Max, enthusiastically slurping away on his own genitals.
This was disturbing for a number of reasons. Max is old - in canine terms, he's got a few years on the Queen Mother, so it was a bit like seeing said Royal in a split-beaver shot. It was undeniably an impressive feat, given that it takes Max longer to get to his feet than it takes a super-tanker to pull a handbrake turn, but it's really not something I want to see, least of all first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The sad part is, Max was thoroughly neutered well over a dozen years ago - it may be simply that he hasn't actually noticed the absence of his testicles yet.
For, let's face it, dogs are stupid. Loyal and obedient they may bem, but so are most members of HM Customs and Excise - I rest my case. Here, there's hardly an hour goes past without another doggie-related sound, best summarised thus:
We can break this down into stages. The first barks are in response to any life-threatening occurrence - such as a postman - and are given while Cleo and Cody charge down the corridor as if in fear of their life. The slide-thump-scrabble occurs when they fail to make it through the tricky chicane outside our bedroom; they then forget all about the fractures, and charge off down the straightaway once more.
Even an earthworm is capable of learning the right way through a maze, given enough electrical shocks. Cleo and Cody are clearly lower on the evolutionary scale, having failed to learn that right-angled turns on freshly-cleaned tiles do not work, despite having taken (or rather, failed to take) that curve several thousand times in their short, moist-nosed lives.
One might like to compare and contrast the feline approach - while just as keen on reaching the parts us primates can't reach, and equally vulnerable to newly-mopped floors (albeit with a greater aversion to water in general), there is a major difference to their approach:
First, look around to see if anyone witnessed your humiliation If they did, look at them with a face which implies "I meant to do that". Remember: "When in doubt -- wash". Make a furry mental note not to go down that corridor ever again, even if it means starving to death.
For a cat, self-respect is just too important to be forgotten about - the worst thing you can do to is laugh at them. But here, I live in hope that one day, the second set of woofs from Cleo and Cody will be muffled because they have driven their heads clean through the wall. Of course, it could just be that the concussions have taken their toll, and we are now sharing the house with the canine equivalents of Muhammad Ali. Anyone know if he has a fondness for licking his own genitals too?
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