When we were living in Paris I took great delight in scoffing at the little pooches which pooped all over the city, and even more delight in watching the French dog owners unabashedly ignore the mess their fur balls had made, and prance off in their tight red jeans. When we moved to the Cotswolds I found I had a lot of time to myself. Getting up at 5am and driving the man to the train station and picking him up again at 8pm meant my days were full. Of time. I took to walking and soon the cheese fat from Paris melted away as I ventured further and further into the depths of the great British countryside. After a session of tree hugging I began to think maybe I did need a companion after all. I’ve always wanted a dog, but I’ve always been afraid of getting one. It’s always the dog walkers who find the bodies you see, and I don’t want to find a body. And the village we were living in was almost an exact replica of Midsomer – bar the lovely John Nettles. In the end I figured there are more dog owners than there are murders in the UK. “It’s time we got a dog” I said to my fiance. And he agreed. It’s good when we agree. But deciding you want a dog is only the beginning. You then have to decide on the type of dog. The breed, the size, the temperament, the long hair, short hair, age and likelihood of it eating your children (if we ever have enough time in the same room to make any). Dogs really do live a long time if you look after them properly, which I intend to do.

So we decided on a Schnauzer. This means Moustache in German, which amused us for some reason but it was not the only reason we decided on this breed. Yes it does have funny facial hair, but they are also kind, loyal and do not eat kids. Woof. Next decision – there are different types of Schnauzers. Miniature Schnauzers, Standard Schnauzers and Giant Schnauzers. Try saying that quickly. We got a bit fed up at this point because I didn’t mind having a miniature dog but he thought it would make him look funny walking round with a little dog. I did not point out that adopting any dog with such distinctive facial hair, no matter the size, has to be an act of self deprecation.

Anyway we arrived home to Kent dog-less and our very keen and informative neighbours were quick to tell us that the person who had rented out our house had two dogs who barked all day long. Our neighbours added that they were extremely pleased to see us return. Not a great way to be welcomed home – people were pleased to see us because we didn’t have dogs. Woof woof.

Now my days are shorter, and we do spend more time in the same room, I still manage to get in an odd walk around the common. I do mean odd in the strange sense of the word here, because where else do you see big hulking smelly masses crapping all over the place and their very British owners scooting around after them picking up their hot crap with their hands wrapped in plastic bags? It struck me that this relationship has got out of hand. I’m pretty sure feeding, washing, grooming and picking up poo is for the reserves of people who have kids. And yet somehow the humble dog has got there. So we’re getting out of that by getting a cat. Miaow.

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