Bitch on the Blog

January 30, 2016


Whilst I do believe that colour does not beat the starkness of a black and white photograph I do have difficulty liking those who paint the world in black and white. Those who indulge in generalizing instead of taking their magnifying glasses to the particular.

Yes, the general and the particular. What a marvellous subject. Lending itself to all FACETS of life. Today, going the way of least resistance, I shall focus on the soft subject of dog and cat lovers.

Please note that I said ‘and’ NOT ‘versus’. There is no law to say that you have to be either or. Or can’t be both. Sure, we may have affinities. Men, mice. Some even keep hamsters. A friend and neighbour of mine used to. I can’t say I loved them (I loathe anything on a treadmill) but they were living things (not that they knew it) so I looked after them when friend was on holiday. Even when friend was not on holiday I’d get those blasted things over to my garden and let them chew the grass. I’d have preferred a sheep or a goat but friends can’t be choosers.

If I were technically as adept as all of you I’d now attach to this post a photo of my fifteen months old self and Pongo. Pongo was my first body guard, an Alsatian. Sitting, at my side and on his hind, taller than me. And yes, the picture is black and white. Which is just as well because Pongo’s fur was black and it was midwinter and the snow was very very very white.

Where were we? Cats and dogs. Animals. By temperament I’d say I prefer cats, for purely selfish reasons. Cats want nothing from you. They give (not least half dead prey put at your feet as a sign of affection) but that’s about it. Dogs? Dogs are takers. They – not by desire, by default – may look at you as the leader of the pack. Don’t let yourself be flattered so easily. As leader of the pack you are looked upon to provide. PROVIDE. Like what? Fun, entertainment, and, naturally, food. You are at their beck and call. And those eyes. Those EYES. Pleading, needy. That’s ok. I don’t mind pleading, needy, that’s what makes dogs human. But, for heaven’s sake, there is that never ending sorrow in a dog’s eyes. It’s why, and please shoot me now, why I firmly believe that those prone to the metaphorical black dog on your shoulder should not keep dogs. Keep a cat – if you must have a pet – instead. Cats are affectionate to the point of suffocating (me) yet they never expect you to throw a stick. And to reciprocate I never expect them to fetch it [the stick].

As an aside and whatever you do: Do not keep a gold fish. They are soul destroying (their own and yours).

Hugs and hisses,




  1. Thank you. Under no circumstances will I ever be persuaded to keep a goldfish as a pet.

    Comment by rummuser — January 31, 2016 @ 08:45 | Reply

    • Never say never, my dear Ramana. There may be circumstances (say, in solitary confinement in Outer Siberia) when even the ever chatty you and I may welcome the presence of the frankly exasperating incommunicado of a goldfish (as long as it’s alive). And as goldfish never remember anything for longer than it takes them to go round the circumference of their bowl they’d make the perfect confidant.

      Greetings to your household’s own furry bundle of joy,


      Comment by bitchontheblog — January 31, 2016 @ 10:55 | Reply

  2. I had a pair of goldfish once…. we put them in a tank with some Gammarus pulex (freshwater shrimps) which disappeared …. and then next day we found the Fish had laid lots of eggs…
    Dogs and cats though…. I like both but would not have either at my age through choice. Sons have bequeathed their cats which I talk to , much to youngest’s puzzlement, and do make a fuss of….

    Comment by magpie11 — January 31, 2016 @ 12:04 | Reply

    • That’s amazing, Magpie. Goldfish laying eggs?

      I may have related the sorry saga before – if so forgive me, repeating anecdotes comes with time running out. I can’t remember how it happened. Anyway, the Angel and I ended up with a good fat round the middle and cheery golden orange, well, goldfish. We named him Oscar. Mainly because I like Oscar and if I had had a second son (despite my mother’s wailing “You can’t”) I’d have named him Oscar (Reference: Lemmon and Matthau in “The Odd Couple”). Possibly with a ‘k’ but Oskar/Oscar nevertheless.

      Oscar was lovely. No two ways about it. He radiated calm. Even humour. What must have gone through his mind watching me make lemon curd and other things from scratch I do not know. All homey. And Radio Four (particularly between 1415 and 1500 hrs). Then the Angel and I thought he should have company. So we got him Rupert (named on account of his red nose). Rupert was hopeless. Where Oscar was cheerful Rupert was misery reincarnated. One day he was floating on his side (which was slightly better than belly up). I phoned the vet. Don’t laugh. I phoned the vet. Mainly because they don’t charge you over the phone and it’s not easy to transport a fish from A to B. There was no hope, the vet told me. Never one to let anyone suffer needlessly I asked him how to benignly, nay, humanly, put Rupert out of his misery (short of flushing him down the loo). He told me. And I did. A bit like Cluedo: On the terrace (hard surface), in a plastic bag, with one sharp blow. Oscar too died shortly after we got him yet another weedy companion. Maybe it was all too much for him.

      Give your cats my best miaous,


      Comment by bitchontheblog — January 31, 2016 @ 12:28 | Reply

      • PS I hasten to add that my mother’s wailing may be misconstrued the way I built that sentence above. She would have been all for another son of mine. However, she didn’t like the name ‘Oscar’. My paternal grandmother, a very beautiful and, by all accounts, lethal woman, nearly named her first and only (that’s my father) August on account that he was born on 1st August. To understand: In the motherland “August” (a bit like Oskar) is associated with Clown. To this day I have no idea what is wrong with being a clown. Other than that – like comedians – they are often to be found the most soulful and sad people ever. Which begs the question, and veering off the subject, why are the Blues (Music) so uplifting?


        Comment by bitchontheblog — January 31, 2016 @ 12:39 | Reply

  3. ‘the more I learn about mankind the better I like dogs’

    (not the exact quotation, but near enough)

    Comment by Friko — February 1, 2016 @ 23:48 | Reply

    • My dear Friko, you are putting a whole new meaning to “going to the dogs”. Come to the Docks instead. Just follow the signs on the M27.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — February 3, 2016 @ 07:33 | Reply

  4. nowadays I do not want any kind of pet – they usually have no respect if you happen to arrive home late at night and there was nothing put out to eat…but once I had a huge collection of cats [some better than others]

    Comment by cedar51 — February 4, 2016 @ 19:44 | Reply

    • You are right, Catherine, about pets: “some better than others”. To which I may add “some better than others to suit their keeper”. It’s like with any relationship.With some people/animals you click.With others?

      One of my worst (I mean it) and self defeating traits that I never give up on anyone. It is awful and I sometimes question my sanity on that score. There is no denying that if you don’t gel you don’t gel. Throw as much gelatine at it as you like. Mind you, come to think of it, and this is where the saying is wrong. The saying being “You can lead a horse to the waterline but you can’t make it drink”. It’s nonsense. Horses are no fools. If there is water they will drink it. They rather survive than spite you. Humans? Don’t bank on it. The last few years have seen me stretch out my hand in hope of reconciliation. Some people rather starve themselves to death than take that hand.

      Hope all is well with you.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — February 4, 2016 @ 20:12 | Reply

      • yep, you can apply the traits of animals to any kind of situation including humans…

        all is well here, I’m in Auckland and the region has sweltered through a few weeks of high summer – with occasional bouts of thunderstorms – it is expected to rain this weekend but so far today – it’s dull, and a nice cool breeze. I’m about to get back to art diploma with it’s proper deadlines and that is going to be full on for a few months…

        Comment by cedar51 — February 5, 2016 @ 01:05 | Reply

  5. I had ALL at one point. Children can be demanding. Two dogs, two cats, two birds, two goldfish, all rescued from one appalling place or another.
    I admit to favouriting dogs but one or two cats stole my soul a few times. Dogs have uses when one lives alone, guarding both oneself and one’s possessions and yanking one out for the good old constitutional. And paddling. Can’t forget the good old salt water on the feet. And bed. They are excellent stretched out along one’s back. And healing licks on sore cuts, etc.
    Biased? yes.


    Comment by wisewebwoman — February 4, 2016 @ 22:11 | Reply

    • You say “biased”, WWW. I am all over the place.

      I like animals. Obviously not (grey) squirrels digging up your bulbs or swinging from your eight foot sunflowers BUT – on the whole – I like animals (and humans).

      Yet some [animals] do leave me cold. My youngest sister and my two nieces are, and have been from the cradle, mad about horses. I am sure they [horses] are very nice. Just keep them away from me. At a push I blame my fear of heights. By rights, following the maddening health and safety standards as Bureau Crazy introduced rules and regulations, horses should be banned. Approach them from their hind at your peril. Sit on them at your dentist’s gain. I know this because my father, a young cadet, was unsaddled, swiftly, loosing him half of a front tooth. If it had been all of the front tooth that would have elicited sympathy, a half tooth is ridiculous.

      Then there are mice. Mice are actually rather sweet. But not when uninvited. Oh my god, WWW, I hold my nerve at the worst of times but September to December last year … let’s just say I got used to them. Which is not good. One shouldn’t get used to adversities in one’s life. That way they [adversities] feel comfy, settle and continue to give you grief.

      Following, loyally, your ups and downs as conveyed on your blog, hang on in there, WWW. If all else fails to keep you on your toes plant a Hosta and hunt down the snails leaving them [the Hostas] looking like a fragile piece of Venetian lace. Where are the smelling salts when you need them?


      Comment by bitchontheblog — February 5, 2016 @ 01:19 | Reply

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