I’ve never been overly fond of dogs but my wife loves them and her enthusiasm is clearly rubbing off on me.
Whenever we see a dog being walked, or sitting in a car, or waiting patiently outside a shop, or miles and miles away from us in the distance, or in a painting, or in a Where’s Wally? book, or in a dream she’s had, my wife says “a doggo!” and I say, “yes, marvellous,” and then life is allowed to continue until the next canine friend comes along.
But now, when I see a dog on my own, my association is no longer of Cujo chewing through the side of that Ford Pinto, but of my happy wife’s glee at their species’ simple existence.
Today, I saw a Golden Retriever on the train home from the wedding and he was being so good that I’m fairly certain the pupils of my eyes turned into love hearts.
The dog was clearly troubled by the motion of the train, but because his man wasn’t scared, the dog followed his lead and retained his cool.
He was such a good boy (a “twelve out of ten good boy,” as I’ve learned to describe it) that I felt in my bones that he should be given a loving pat-pat on the head and also, if at all possible, a biscuit.
That’s proper dog fondness isn’t it? I like dogs! I think to myself. Hooray! I like dogs at last! I’m normal!
Samara looks on with joy in her heart.
Hurrying to our connection at Crewe station, I hear a furious yapping and growling from some dogs around the corner. We soon see that the yappers are a pair of lint-coloured, crooked-fanged gremlins being carted around in a pushchair. They’re going berserk because they’ve spotted another dog from across the concourse.
In what is clearly a test, Samara asks if I still love doggos.
I pick up an imaginary telephone, calmly dial an invisible number, and say coolly, “gas them.”
So am I back to Square One now? Or is it simply that some dogs are 12/10 good boys while others are throttlable bastards?