Proctor : July 2017
51 PROCTOR | July 2017 Regular readers may recall, during their rare moments of lucidity, that my family has acquired a dog, although the jury is still out on what breed. My suspicion – based on the size, intelligence and capacity for causing widespread destruction – is that he is the last surviving member of the prehistoric ancestors of dogs. It would certainly explain a great deal if it turned out he had a brain the size of a pea. You may also recall that he has the delusion, shared by almost all species of dog and the former members of the Palmer United Party, that the world is made entirely out of food, which means that they – dogs, not ex-Palmer United Party members (although it is likely no coincidence that they were referred to as PUP) – tend to attempt to eat pretty much anything, safe in the knowledge that their bodies – which are much smarter than their brains – will expunge items that aren’t food (one way or another). Man, that was a long sentence. In these enlightened times, of course, what dogs expunge from the, shall we say, tail region, is a bigger deal than it was. We dog owners carry plastic bags to clear the environment of dog waste, and it is a good thing too – if I had a choice between stepping in that and stepping in radioactive waste, I would go the radionuclides every time, because dog waste is possibly the most toxic substance in the universe; certainly it smells that way. Also, it can only be removed from running shoes via flamethrower, which tends to result in a sub-optimal shoe. As a runner, I fully support both the laws which require people to clean up after their dogs, and transportation to the 7th circle of Hell for people who fail to do this (if Hell is full, they can go to Sydney instead). Nevertheless, in the old days it was different. As a kid I lived in the Moreton Shire, when the dog laws were much simpler than they are now. I believe the full text of the laws went like this: 1. If you have a dog: (i) Good! We like dogs! (ii) Please feed your dog. (iii) We are not interested in any puppies you are giving away. (iv) Really, we aren’t. Years later, after I became a solicitor (honest, I did) I worked for the Ipswich City Council prosecuting breaches of local laws, including dog laws. The Ipswich laws were a little stricter, and went something like this: 1. If you have a dog: (i) Guilty. Note to officious letter-writers, potentially litigious local governments and the sorts of law nerds that actually look these things up: the above characterisation of the Ipswich Local Laws is an artifice employed for comedic effect (it’s funny, trust me) and I intend no denigration of the excellent minds behind the true laws (of which I was one) which it goes without saying are fair, reasonable and bathe anyone who reads them in a glow of pure justice that has been shown to lower blood pressure, vaporise kidney stones and cure acne (note: there may be more than one artifice in this column). In other words, don’t sue me. (Don’t send letters to the editor either – Ed.) Anyway, my point, I think you will find, is that I have a dog that can destroy things, largely by attempting to eat them. This generally doesn’t create too much of a problem, especially if the thing destroyed holds little value, such as, for example, sticks, tennis balls and real estate agents offering to give me a free valuation of my house. In fact, let me just pause there and address any real estate agents who are having this read out to them. The only effect of you offering to value my house – whether in person, via mail or through cutting down a Tasmania worth of trees and turning them into junk mail and newspaper inserts – is that I will never, even if the choice is between you, Sauron and the guy who shot Bambi’s mother, use your services. For the record, I have never met anyone who feels any differently about this, although some of the younger ones refer to Voldemort rather than Sauron because young people have no real idea of what is cool. Unfortunately my dog occasionally destroys something of value, which recently included my Valleys Rugby League Football Club hat (note to concerned Valleys fans: it wasn’t one from the good old days, but a recently purchased one, so don’t worry). Most hats are safe from dogs because they are usually on people’s heads, often with the peak pointing backwards if the hat is being worn by a certain kind of person known to top people scientists as ‘morons’. Unfortunately my wife comes from a long line of jockeys, and my dog from a long line of horses, and he was able to snatch it from her head. My wife doesn’t understand why this upset me so much, as she – like many women – was born without the gene that allows a person to apply ludicrous and unjustifiable significance to the following of sports teams (there are no men who do not have this gene). She does understand – now that my hat, and not hers has been eaten – that she cannot wear a hat while walking him. In fact, many people who meet my wife walking our dog find it amusing to point out that she would be better off riding him. I can’t tell you how hilarious my wife finds this, but I can describe it. You know how you feel when someone who likes Monty Python just a little too much feels the need to recite the entire Dead Parrot sketch to you, including poorly imitated British accents, no matter how many times you say you have already heard it? That’s how my wife feels when she hears that joke; I suspect that one day I will come home to find the police taking her away for stabbing someone to death with her keys after hearing that comment. Fortunately she will get off, because the dog will have eaten the evidence (before you complain, I mean the keys, not the body, OK?). Suburban cowboy Dog, gone But whatever he ate will be back by Shane Budden © Shane Budden 2017. Shane Budden is a Queensland Law Society ethics solicitor.