Monday, 31 August 2009

The Times They Have a-Changed

'k, so being a dog owner has changed since the sixties. Back when I were a lass, you got your dog with a ten bob donation to the RSPCA, you fed it either PAL (Prolongs Active Life) or Pedigree Chum ('the one dog-breeders recommend') or something else that contained Marylebone jelly, there were no injections, but you battled with fleas throughout the dog's life, and you de-wormed it once in a blue moon. You bathed it when it had fallen in some body of water that contained a significant smelly-mud content.
If it misbehaved, you said, 'Bad dog!' and if it did its business where it shouldn't, you had to rub their nose in it. Oh, and of course, they pooped on the pavement where it would lie until it became white.
Our dog, Spot, was such a dog, as, later, was Ben. (The dog, not the son, although that one did throw my mother).

Nowadays, you have to audition for a breeder to even sell you the pup, then you have to select from 30 or 40 different scientifically concocted foods, get it inoculated against a whole range of things, one of which (distemper) did actually exist back in the 60s, you have to clip its claws, defrag its ears, modulate the Heisenberg's condensers, oh, no, sorry, went off track there, clean its teeth, de-worm it weekly until it's old enough to only be done monthly, bathe it regularly with oatmeal dog shampoo (well, that may be just me to be fair), pick up its plopsies and put them in a bio-degradable plastic bag, give it 'crate training' and learn how to think like a dog, because you are the head of its pack.

I certainly shouldn't have been surprised about the last bit, since my sister has had dogs for many years and has done all that alpha-dog training bit.

Of course, although I sound like I'm making fun of it, I'm not, I know that thinking has improved and progressed, dogs are generally healthier, and small children less likely to go blind from playing in a park.

But then there are the slew of things that deserve to have fun made of them. I was nonplussed when someone at church showed up with a small poochie in a contraption that looked like a child's pushchair-cum-senior's shopping trolley. Wtf???? thought I,
In the pet store, there were little box-shaped handbags for carrying your accessory-dog à la Paris Hilton, numerous toys of every shape and size, sparkly things, bejewelled things, jackets, boots, special bags for taking your dog on an aeroplane as hand-luggage, oh, well that one's sensible I suppose, and dog life jackets.
'Pshaw!' I said to Kevin.
'What?' he said back,
'Life jackets for dogs!'
'Well ours is going to have to have one,'
'Dogs can swim,'
'So can you, but you can't get in the kayak without a life jacket. Same for a dog, if that boat tips over, he would be disorientated just the same as you would, the life preserver will bring him back up to the surface so that he can actually DO the doggie paddle,'
'Ah, yes, hmm...well, that does make sense.'

Tail between legs.


Karen Rickard said...

It's amazing the hoops you have to jump through to be a dog owner, but anyone can have a child! You left Peter out of the Hindman dogs.
'Chappie' was the one with the marylebone Jelly, we used to feed it to Piper.
Have fun with Whisky, I just can't persuade Steve to have a dog.

Sleepy said...

There is also the de-bollocking.

I have been so riddled with guilt each time I've had a cat done, I fed them prawns!
Got to be done though.

Janis said...

Karen - You're right, I had completely forgotten about Peter. I think that Chappie was the one with an Airedale, like Piper, on the tin wasn't it?
I have another couple of friends in the same boat, with one desperately wanting a dog, the other not, so it seems to be not too unusual.

Sleepy - Yes, I thought about that at the vet's yesterday (and yes, already the bills begin, starting with that particular service being pre-paid for by us in the 'Puppy Plan Plus') when she checked to see that they were there and in the right place. Seemed almost poor form to check six months in advance before you emasculate the dog.
But that was something my parents always had done to our animals, on the other hand, probably in general people didn't, because there did seem to be more puppies freely available and being drowned in canals and such like.

Sleepy said...

Poor old Cat-Boy's looked SO sporty too.
But the Tabby nuts had to go!

Anonymous said...

did he say "disorientated" or did he say "disoriented?" If it's the former, then he has picked up your British way with words nicely.
cute dog too. i want to meet this dog.
- Karen

Schneewittchen said...

*raises a quizzical eyebrow*

Anonymous said...

I'll raise a quizzical eyebrow too - but it is disoriented here.
also, the word verification word is "fiend"
- Karen

Schneewittchen said...

Ah...well you see, I looked up 'disoriented' in the US view of the OED and it said it didn't exist, so I assumed you were implying that Kevin had been illiterate before he met me, which rather jarred with our recently reached détente.

Sleepy said...

That has proper tickled me.
Maybe that is what happens to Oriental students who are taught by someone who can't spell for shit!

Anonymous said... indicates that disorientate is the correct adjective. Disoriented is the alternative; 'chiefly North American'. So...when in US/Canada, disoriented is the adj., but when in UK/Australia/South Africa it's disorientated.
so there you go.
what detente?
- Karen

Schneewittchen said...

Sleepy - Kevin suggested it meant a surgical procedure.

Karen - That is quite bizarre, because here is the exact and complete paste from


• verb cause (someone) to lose their sense of direction or feel confused.

— DERIVATIVES disorientated adjective disorientation noun."

and then for disoriented....

Sorry, there are no results for that search.

Anonymous said...

–verb (used with object) 1. to cause to lose one's way: The strange streets disoriented him.
2. to confuse by removing or obscuring something that has guided a person, group, or culture, as customs, moral standards, etc.: Society has been disoriented by changing values.
3. Psychiatry. to cause to lose perception of time, place, or one's personal identity.
1645–55; < F désorienter, equiv. to dés- dis- 1 + orienter to orient Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.
»Related Words for : disorient

both are correct seemingly. I understand that in Britain, disoriented may not be allowed. But that doesn't make it not a correct word.
anyway, let us not un-detente (now that is not a word) I think we can have word squabbles without undetenting.
- Karen

Sleepy said...

Schneewittchen said...

Sleepy - hahaha!!!

Karen - seriously, you can't trump the Oxford ENGLISH dictionary.
But I'm with you on the not un-detenting, I've decided that you are a worthy feminist and that is something I value.

Sleepy said...

You got a Bank Holiday over there today?