BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
I’m ashamed to admit that I own a racist dog. Whenever my chocolate lab sees a black dog, he goes for it and tries to take a chunk out of it. Where we live there are no black dogs or any other dogs within miles so he can walk around off lead and there are never any problems. Whenever we go down to Cornwall for some rest and relaxation, I insist that he’s kept on a lead at all times when he’s out of the house, which annoys him, but he gets used to it. He never bites anything or anyone else – just black dogs.
We have tried our very best to eliminate the racism in our dog. He’s nine now and a somewhat damaged rescue dog. Despite our best efforts, we have failed to change his ways. Muzzling him used to be the only viable way of walking him near black dogs but now that he’s aged, a tug on the lead suffices – he knows full well these days that no savaging of his darker brethren is allowed. Neither my wife nor I pretend to be dog whisperers and we have lost hope in reforming our brown friend – alas, noone has come up with a Kick it Out course for canine delinquents. Recently we acquired a small black terrier and they get on fine, but this has not changed our chocolate’s attitude to other black dogs.
This weekend we were taking a walk on the beach before Storm Ciara swept in. The sun was shining and the Cornish beach that we were on was gloriously empty. My wife and I walked with our dogs while the children skimmed stones into the sea. Then a couple of black dogs showed up on the beach – they were off-lead, well ahead of their lady owner.
I cursed. I was just beginning to relax. As a responsible dog owner I immediately put our black-biting chocolate lab on the lead.
As we walked up the beach, I purposefully stayed near the water’s edge, so the owner of the black dogs was well away up the beach near the foot of the cliff with her dogs. Yet she purposefully decided to walk towards us – with her dogs following suit. As she approached I shouted out to her that our chocolate was a savage racist and enjoyed taking chunks out of black dogs. She carried on marching towards us without a care in the world.
“Dogs should be free to socialise,” she declared, as if she knew best.
So, I walked off with our chocolate well away from her dogs and left my wife to engage in conversation with her while I did my best Victor Meldrew impression further up the beach. Being a responsible dog owner means just that – averting crises. How would she feel if one of her black dogs was left bleeding and injured on the beach? How would her free socialisation – her open borders – work then? She’d have called the police there and then – I have no doubts at all. She would have readily played the victim.
I admit I was really annoyed with her attitude. I took some deep breaths. This was not the first idiot dog walker I’ve come across. I’ve met a few of these carefree dog walkers in recent years. Despite my polite warnings they are content to not control their dogs, as if the world is some kind of fluffy Utopia full of rainbows and My Little Ponies where nasty, cruel common sense is just a dark cloud in an everlasting summer – the sort of do-gooder muppets attracted to positions on parole boards who would happily move Hannibal Lecter out of his cage to relieve his arthritis.
And this is the fascinating bit. They are all socialists these leash-free dog walkers. Every single one of them that I have got around to asking. Selfish socialist dog walkers. Costing others with their ideology. Risking bloody crises with their carefree attitude to security.
And how do I know that?
I go out of my way to ask…
“So sorry about the racist dog. Sign of the times,” I fish.
“Yes,” they nibble.
“Oh well, there’s another election in 5 years,” I continue.
“Yes, thankfully,” they all reply.
I know they’re socialists. The lot of them. I suppose some could be Lib Dems, especially those dog walkers exhibiting a pervert’s gait, accompanying rent boys or with an errant pubic hair stuck between their tombstones. The way they respond, their rueful glances and the way they dress for dog walks as if they are in between group therapy sessions. Not a poo bag in sight. Anoraks, facial hair, massive dangly earrings like satellite dishes, woolly garments (more Rolf than Harris), Quorn-breathed crusties – definitely socialists.
The good news is there are plenty of empty places in the Massif Central where such people can go walk their dogs without fear of upsetting responsible dog walkers. They can move there permanently if they want. They can be fully-fledged Europeans there, dress in blue suits bedecked with gold stars and barbecue Tofu sausages around a solar-powered camp fire with other Utopians who are also always right. Of course if the world is truly equitable they may just get savaged by a sanglier there or – God forbid – taken out in some dreadful hit-and-run by a Dacia Duster…let us live in hope.