Friday, 29 June 2012

Pets: Furry friends or a tragic snack?


I haven’t blogged for a while because I’ve been writing a long, long book with swearing and nookie and other stuff in it.  But life has been happening to me even during my internet absence.  Mainly, I have spent the last half a year being nagged rigid by my children about pet ownership.  So, it seems right that I should devote this blogpost to my curmudgeonly views on domestic animals. 

My views look a bit like this...
Animals: they bloody stink, don’t they?  And they cost a fortune to keep.  And then they die.

When I was a kid, we had two goldfish won at a fair.  I called them Fish n Chips.  Chips got eaten by Fish.  Then only Fish was left.  Fish ate his turds for about eight years and then ended up floating at the top of the tank like a dead sardine suffering from existential despair.  I later discovered that his demise was caused by my grandmother giving the hapless bumhole a tablespoon of food when we went on hols.  The fish literally ate until he burst. My mother let me bury him in the back garden. 


Several attempts at goldfish ownership later, I ended up with another fish called Fish.  That fish lasted an impressive ten years until, like Steve McQueen out of The Great Escape, he kept flipping himself out of the tank.  He ended up white, covered in mucus and listing to starboard on the bottom of the tank like Leonardo di Caprio in Titanic or that moaning bird out of Twilight.  We administered fish-euthanasia by leaving him on a saucer overnight in the hope that he would die quickly.  In the morning, amidst a waterfall of my teenaged tears, Mum said he’d gone in the night.  I don’t know where he’d gone but I doubt she’d bunged him a fiver and dropped him at the bus stop. 

The other horror of pet ownership that haunts me even now was the sad tale of Bopper Bunny.  I was eight.  Bopper was a gorgeous black and white Dutch rabbit.  We put him in a hutch that my idiot father had made from offcuts of wood.  He had a window instead of wire mesh.  This was a mistake.  When the sun shone on little Bopper, Bopper started to cook like a furry Sunday roast.  Consequently, he was confined to his airless hole of a bedroom.  He got diarrhoea and Mum couldn’t afford to take him to the vet.  Despite cleaning his hutch every week, Bopper spent six months trailing a ball of shit and fur around the size of Geoff Capes’ fist.  

Poor, tragic Bopper lived only two years and survived being let out by the local yobs on our estate and the bouncing shitball. 

One day, we came home from shopping, Bopper was stretched out in his window.  Rigor mortis had already set in.  Even in death, we failed Bopper.  My mother refused to touch the dead rabbit.  She shovelled him out on a spade, dropped him but eventually managed to put him in a shoe box.  But he had been stretched out when he died and Mum was only a size 5.  His legs couldn’t be tucked in.  So his coffin was comprised of an ill-fitting shoe box and a Kwik Save bag.  Bye bye, little Bopper, with your feet sticking out the end.  It was utterly tragic.  Worse still, I wasn’t allowed to bury him in the back garden.  So Mum slung him on some waste land and their endethed the story of my childhood experiences of pet ownership.

Tragic but true.

So when my kids ask me for pets, I simply say, “NO.  PISS OFF!” because my hurts have still not healed after all these years.  Fortunately, I have been given a second chance though, as two rabbits came to live in my garden and now there are five.  It smells of wee in the garden but they are so cute, it’s worth it.  

This post is in memory of Fish, Chips, Benson & Hedges, Fish and Bopper.

6 comments:

  1. I love it that you have Leonardo di Caprio in your labels! (And the post was quite funny too - if a little distressing... I feel Bopper's pain. And yours.)

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    1. I've promised the kids they can have a dog when I have earned £7 million and have already bought everything off the long shopping list, including some nice teeth for an immediate family member. I just don't trust myself not to continue the cycle of abuse. Poor Bopper (although we do have 3 very healthy goldfish now in a nice tank).

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  2. This is hysterical. I deal with pain by finding the funny and Bopper's last rites were very very funny!

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    1. Thanks for that, George. I see it more as a cautionary tale against pet ownership and buckling to children's whims. I just know if we ever did get a dog or a cat, muggins would end up cleaning up the poo, doing walks, brushing the teeth, removing the furballs with tweezers or whatever it is people do to cats and having to placate in-season females with babybuds, which I've heard about from friends. Eeuw.

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  3. I am so, so glad you never had a cat.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Wendy. I always wanted a cat but my Mother had already endured a lifetime of my Grandmother rearing snarling, hissing little scratchy beasts as mousers. There was no way I was going to be allowed a mog. Plus, my Grandmother used to let the cat on the kitchen worksurfaces and it could regularly be spied shitting in the sink and licking the butter. As a PR exercise for cuddliness, my Grandmother's cats' behaviour was a bit like suggesting Robert Mugabe would make a good nursery nurse.

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