We do get it. When Monty Don’s dog Nigel died we were upset, and we haven’t ever watched Gardeners’ World. But we’re not talking about the man and man’s best friend relationship (moving and enviable), we’re talking about the parent/child dynamic, as applied to pets. We might even be talking about owners who refer to themselves as Mummy or Daddy, as in “Mummy doesn’t mind Boo getting on the bed, does she?” This is, should you be in any doubt, the equivalent on the creepy scale of an adult male keeping nautically atired teddy bears in allocated places around his bedroom. Also worth noting: anyone who has a rare bond with their dog never draws attention to it. People who have a special bond with their dog rarely mention their dog at all. It’s just there, reading their mind, and vice versa.
The indulgent owners
Do you go absolutely everywhere with pockets full of treats? When your dog is on the lead do you spend the whole time dithering about waiting for it to decide if it fancies licking the wrapper or exploring the dark alleyway? Do you sometimes watch your dog chasing the ducks past the “Keep Dogs on Lead” sign like a proud parent on the touchline watching little Johnny get away with some dirty play? Then you’re one of these.
The my-dog-my-life owner
These owners come in two incarnations, both equally undesirable. One, will talk you through Coco’s sleeping habits and eating habits and special little foibles (she has to have her biscuit first or she will not settle), and while that would be entirely acceptable if you were dog-sitting Coco for the weekend, this conversation is happening on the dance floor at your first post-lockdown party. The second sort of MDMLO is the hopelessly ineffective owner who desperately regrets not having put their foot down in those critical early training days. See Fenton and the deer botherers.