MY neighbour's dog is in therapy.
She says it looks sad all the time, won't stop howling. Did I mention the dog is a Basset hound? I think the phrase "hangdog look" was designed specifically for the Basset hound.
He's a cute wee thing, right enough, though his ears just skim the ground when he walks, giving him the air of a man too tired of life to hold his head up. I always give him a special chuck under the chin, as a hint. He never takes it.
In lieu of a dog I sometimes take my godson for a walk in the park. It's quite eye-opening. There's a wee scrappy white pooch whose dolly-bird owner puts a pink bow in its hair. I asked its name once, out of politeness. Frank. He's called Frank. I wonder if he's having counselling too.
There's a dog walker, a professional, who talks to her charges like they're nursery pupils. They all sit very nicely when told to and eat their treats. There's one little dull brown terrier that never seems to sit at quite the right time and always misses out on the biscuits. It must be hard for it.
My friend Nikki lets me walk her Irish setter sometimes. Zac's a fairly unreconstructed dog. He likes mud and chasing things and he looks at you when you call him as if the word "Zac" seems slightly familiar but not very interesting.
The last time I had him out he ran over to a dog wearing a raincoat that matched its owner's Hunter wellies. He was just being personable but the lady was extremely ticked off. Her dog seemed not to be allowed houndish enthusiasm. Maybe it's me, though. Maybe I allow Zac too long a leash.
I wonder what the Basset woofs to its counsellor about. I wonder about this when I'm in the park, trying to eavesdrop on the dogs' conversations.
"My counsellor says the reason I don't fetch the stick back is due to my deep-seated attachment issues. My owner returned to work when I was just a puppy." Sympathetic howls. "Mine says I chase cyclists because I was the runt of the litter and need to assert dominance over something unthreatening." Ruff.
I used to think it would be quite nice to be a dog but maybe I'm wrong. For once I'm thinking how glad I am to be human.
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.