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It's a Dogs Life !


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       How do you do? The name’s Cojo, short for Cotton Jon. My brother C.J., short for Calico Joe, he’s in the Police Force. I don’t know why the humans choose such naff names for their pets. I am a young virile German Shepherd Dog, much more suited to a dramatic name like Sabre; or noble like Viscount; or romantic ( the bitches go for that ) like Vagabond.

       My humans, Squawk ( so named because when I do something wrong she screeches and squawks sounding worse than a henhouse with a fox let loose in it ), and Growler ( so named because when I’ve been naughty he threatens and growls more ferociously than me ), confuse me in their social hierarchy. I listen to Squawk as Growler seems to consider her his deputy, and Growler I obey as the alpha male, who leaves the house for several hours everyday presumably to hunt for food, ( though I don’t know why he doesn’t take me with him to help ). Squawk has been known to snap, snarl and bitch at Growler, and he did not bark and bite back, putting her in her place. In fact he slunk away. Now I don’t know which one I’m supposed to kowtow to the most after that display. In our world we would never have a female behave like that, they know their place. We males look after them, provide their food and protect them, while they produce and nurture offspring. We need them and they need us. If any of the bitches had fancy ideas about feminism, it would completely break down the structured society. Goodness knows what it would lead to or where it would end.

       Life is full of aggravation for us domestic dogs. I know we have our food provided and somewhere safe to sleep; but we have to subdue our free spirit in exchange. Not cats; they have the best of both worlds; they can roam at will. I can go beyond the boundaries if I have a human to accompany me; and then only on a lead. I am let off for some lung-expanding exercise in the fields, but as soon as we reach the roadside, back on the lead I go. That dratted cat spies me being taken for a walk, waits in the hedge for my return, then walks down the lane in front of me, unrestrained, waving her tail in the air in a ‘you can kiss my backside’ attitude. “I wish she wouldn’t do that,” wimps my human. “If a car comes along it could cause a catastrophe.” I’ll turn her into a cats-ass-trophy if I catch up with her, strutting along thinking she’s so superior because she doesn’t have to be subservient to humans in order to be fed and cosseted. She’s always goading me; she knows I’ll get into trouble if I chase her.

       Yesterday, when Squawk was out, I pulled her typewriter off her desk and chewed bits off of it. I had to hide under the table, while she resorted to insults. Were my ears red from this onslaught! “I’m a no-good for anything useless animal. My coat’s too long so I can’t be shown.” ( Suits me. Who wants to mince about in a show ring anyway. It doesn’t do me any good, what do I want with a rosette and a certificate. Now if first prize was a couple of pounds of shin beef or a marrow bone, I might show some interest ). “I’m over the breed standard height so I can’t be used for breeding.” ( Blooming cheek, I’ll have her know that would be a distinct advantage in gaining alpha male status in a pack; and the bitches would be lining up to have such a powerful noble-looking animal as the sire of their puppies ). “I’m noisy” ( I’m guarding ). “I’m destructive” ( I’m lonely and bored ). I waited a while, sidled up to her, put my head in her lap, licked her hand, looked up at her soulfully, then rolled over on my back in the submissive position; she gave in, she always does, and I was back in favour. I was the first puppy she had ever bred, so I’ll always have a place in her heart. Sentimental these humans, luckily for us! We dogs have no such thing as emotional ties to bind us, though we do have an odd sort of feeling towards our humans and miss them when they are away.

       Well, I have to leave you now, the humans have returned and I have to whine and jump about to welcome them. Oh no! What’s that she’s carrying in her arms? A puppy. What do we want with another dog? I like receiving all the attention, there’s none to spare for interlopers. “Now no nonsense from you. This is Chelley; she’s going to be shown when she’s older. So be friendly and we don’t want to see a mark on her,” snapped the humans. It’s a dog’s life!

       And there’s that Cooking Fat smirking through the window at me, I’ll wipe that supercilious smile off her feline face one day.



Copyright J C Hiscox



Previously published in the GSD National Magazine Sep 1995


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