By Emma Storr
Please listen to my tale of Dee and Bobby,
innocents who fancy a new hobby
and think they need a challenging distraction
from constant one-on-one interaction.
They check the internet and spot a hound
whose pedigree is guaranteed as sound
and of a loyal and trusting disposition,
neutered and obedient in addition.
A money transfer seals the deal. They send
for collar, lead and food for their new friend.
A hairy mutt’s delivered by a man
who rings the bell, then drives off in his van.
The beast is on the mat outside their door
leaving steaming parcels on the floor.
His breed and age are difficult to tell
but going by his teeth and by his smell
of musk and shaggy fur mixed with pee,
in dog years he’s a shade off sixty-three.
He’s rather too affectionate and jumps
to lick a face or sometimes he just humps
their legs while drooling slobber on their feet.
He’s unimpressed by walkies as a treat.
My friends are at the end of their tether
remembering their lonely time together
with regret. They argue about who
has to deal with doggy’s sloppy poo
and which of them will quit the double bed
to sleep with whining doggy instead.
They wonder if the R.S.P.C.A.
might understand, and cart the cur away
to canine heaven. A much roomier place
than their flat. But can they really face
killing off the mutt they dreamt would be
an answer to their irritability?
It’s not cheap to euthanize your pet,
so Dee and Bobby go on-line to get
a tin of dog food laced with toxic stuff
a spoon of which is easily enough
to see off any beast, fish or fowl,
mixed in with chunky titbits in a bowl.
Din-dins looks delightful to the mutt,
he wolfs it down and fills his sagging gut,
licks his lips and seems to ask for more
by scratching Bobby’s leg with one soft paw.
They’re scooping out the last bits from the can
when doggy farts proverbially hit the fan.
All three inhale the fumes and sadly die
a ghastly, smelly death that gives the lie
to those who think a pet will mitigate
boredom in our current lockdown state.
The moral of this tale is never fall
for websites pedalling creatures great and small.
A dog can come between a loving pair
and fumigate a flat with fatal air.
A Cautionary Story was inspired by hearing that during lockdown there has been a surge in people buying pets, particularly puppies. Sadly, many of the websites selling dogs are unscrupulous vendors who have reared the puppies in terrible conditions with no proper training. The new owners soon discover that it can be a nightmare caring for a traumatised animal or one that is totally unlike the pet they thought they were buying.