What makes you think I want to glumly charter the ugly contours of your dog’s head? I write having returned from a walk along the would-be verdant moors of Dublin’s Dodder trail. At every corner, every wizened bend, every thorn, bush or shrub there lurked the furry silhouettes of dogs. Critically unleashed. Panting, maniacal dogs of all shape and configuration. Tongues prostrate like some crude, lolling signpost signalling hell (a smouldering furnace full of writhing pugs) is not too far away. Some were more mutilated, some in better condition, than others. Some of a superior owner, frankly. Redolent blonde women synchronized in power-stride do not need dogs. It compromises their beauty. This is a recurrent feature of my walk; lamenting the presence of so many dogs, isolating one or two in particular who I’d inconspicuously drown were I to get away with it. No, rather than allowing my eyes flutter among the dazzling canopies of the proud oak and syrupy sycamore, or eavesdrop on the melodious birdsong, my attention is consistently diverted towards the aggressive number of dogs, tumbling moronically across my path every single time. The bulk of my walk (and I venture to assume the pottering of numerous other wayfarers who wander without being accompanied by said unleashed farting canine) can be indexed as such. Upon encroaching on their territory my eyes dart keenly towards a safe slab of horizon; a canvass unblemished by the sight of a French Poodle trying to crawl into her own rectum, a Scottish terrier nosing the anus of a baffled looking daschund. Each and every clearing for the past number of weeks has been aesthetically held hostage by this nauseating anal ballet, and examining the unpredictability of each of these little wingless parasites, staring into the eyes of some of these boorish, inexplicable beasts has convinced me they are of no intrinsic value whatever other than to aggrandize man’s merits, our superiority in behaviour over these morons. I vie in vein to discern their purpose, their function to humans other than engaging in some squalid, bum-led tango, some macabre ballet shared between dog and man, their seeming immutability on this earth, their ‘love ability’, their piffling charms. The fact they sleep in our homes. To extol a razor blade would be more simplistic. Spare me the poodle, spare me the terrier. Or at least explain why I should have the aromas of your mutt’s innermost parts presented in front of me as I walk like some torrid offering at a free buffet.
Of course, I cannot be unilaterally condemning of every last little poochy woochy. There are those dogs, hidden behind these epileptic mongrels who capture the affections of humans. The red setter for one is a truly winsome dog. Loyal and loving, he’d chew through the face of an oncoming would be aggressor. Pointer dogs are fabulous and deserve love and company. Find me a better drinking companion than a hungover German Shepherd and I’ll give you my inheritance. The golden retriever has a winning smile, if a bit disingenuous, and a cracking little arse. I for one watched engrossed throughout such films as Homeward Bound, or Turner & Hooch as a youth and pined for a Bloodhound who’d I’d name Desmond. It alarmed me, having matured to the requisite level of sentience to realize that I’d been force fed a spurious lie. Homeward Bound featured talking dogs, totally misrepresenting the finite, yet endearing affability dogs can proffer humans. Today though, I feel the standard of dog seems to have declined. Oily, uncouth mongers with no posture. You see them, their slumped, torrid gait coyly emerging from the bristling heather having just crapped all over a child’s pram. Certainly if the grotesque, brainless cretins I’ve seen recently are anything to go by there must be a furious movement to have them aggregated into a super dog. Undistinguished. They do not talk. They are not companions. They do not muse or genuflect unless it is inculcated into them through violence. Their brains are made of hay. They are not attuned to grief, sadness or black, existential despair. They are the spoiled, indifferent jackals of South Dublin, given to greed, sloth and in some cases perpetual larceny. To give you an illustration of their self gratifying natures, one patch of my walk was impeded by some sort of third generation mountain wolf attempting (and succeeding up to a point) to mount and penetrate a very confused looking dog who’s angular snout and bulging wet eyes (streaming with some kind of walnut oil mixed with a viscous lemony catarrh) which could only have been explained by a savage error in genetics or breeding. I was forced to halt my pace and gesture apologetically to both owners, as they manually extracted their dog’s genitals from the other’s, mumbling diffidently. Both dog’s looked baffled..perplexed even. Why are these arseholes stopping this? We’re starving here. (This scenario was perhaps the final straw in my decision to write about this totally insane injunction against dogs and a further illustration of my own prolonged and involuntary period of abstinence.) Consider were humans to behave this way in parks. As well we might. And the shits! Turds varying in size from the grey to the embarrassingly tiny, from the disturbingly exoskeletal to the puffy, capacious Cuban cigar. Every path’s edge, every shaded corner seemed to produce a fresh scatological trinket, watch it pirouette through your new shoelaces; ghoulish rods of red dung scuffing the ankles of the wanderer; the ultimate insult to injury. Dog’s quarreling about the next place they’ll publicly engage in frottage much to the mortified displeasure of their guardians. What’s next? Now if you want to wade through decaying animal shit, by all means embrace the country side. Rejoice as piquant arrows of wayward cow shit cudgel you to death. Elevated, you howl with pleasure as renegade microbes of goats piss and horse dung carry you into a state of sweet, blissful sedation.. as you gleefully float along the hillside, your eyeballs soft as putty, dribbling, immersed in sensual tango with ‘nature’. Anyway, I’m missing something. May our suburban parks be spared this gruesome carnival of shit and dog-discharge . But what of it? Groomed and adored you say… and then rewarding this thing that barks and then gasps its last breath after an unspecified number of years, leaving the disconsolate ‘owners’ melancholy, gazing at old, sepia tinted photograph’s of Sandra’s bewildered, streaming snout. And that is of course, until the grizzly shitting beast has been replaced with another grizzly shitting beast. Why don’t you just buy a wolf that eats everyone’s dreams?
The parks are forcing those of use who don’t unleash licensed animals exact care with every step lest our soles turn brown. Colonized by lonely eyed women a fist of dry shit in plastic, who walk these spindly little animals with less elegance than a rotting purse of walnuts. Take the noble heron for example. A still vision of natural ornithological elegance perched on a rock in the rippling river. I take a moment to notice him. His patience, his curiosity. Acknowledge him even. We silently salute and then… lo and behold our silence is thrashed by this little vibrating bitch, whizzing about my shins, snorting at the crotch of another insane bitch-mutt, their tongues wagging in this violent, bestial rhapsody, a sickening, all too recognizable ritual. Hand me the axe. A good walk spoiled. And not for the first time. The Dodder’s lung is encrusted in poodle diarrhea. Herbert Park buried beneath muddied paws and fecal coloured aluminium pooper scoopers, doggy bags and the occasional renegade gull crap. (Gull’s are keen eyed sergeants of the skies and I wish they would begin attacking incompetent dogs and people.) I once witnessed a kestrel eviscerating a magpie (which I hate) along the Dodder, but more about birds later. Bushy Park a symphony of barks, yelps and scampering, teething tykes. Marlay Park, praise be, has of yet to be unspoiled by the wagging, ever expanding shitting doggy phalanx and praise be. Praise be. Just put your damned creatures on a leash, please.
I accept the park is public, I accept that I am not entitled to a solitary state of indulgence. I realize nature and our parks must be shared. I realize dogs will persist via copulation and I will continue to yield to their exercise as part of a firmly embedded culture. To accept their erratic, flailing corpses as they shatter the illusion that a park could be a place of tranquil, contemplative sanctuary. To wince as yet another mound of poo stretches its hardened tip to the Sun. Our parks are becoming arenas of mephitical terror, to which I despair. Can I have my treat now?