As I was stroking my sister's dog I was told I look so natural with a dog by my side. My family have given up hoping that I might produce offspring and now are trying to urge me to get a pet. They think, to make my life complete, I need to look after another living being.
Fortunately, when it comes to children and animals me and Betty have pretty similar outlooks. We don't get on with children. We never have, not even when we were children ourselves. OK, I suppose I don't mind children if they're quiet, if they keep themselves to themselves, if they're seen but not heard. But you don't get that a lot nowadays, more's the pity.
We don't get on with cats. Cats give me the creeps. Their suspicious feline movements, their smarmy furry sidling up to your leg, their viciously digging claws, their disgustingly rough tongues, the revolting way they lick their privates, their innate need to kill. If cats were human they'd all be locked up and in straitjackets.
Dogs are a different kettle of fish. We love the sight of a good dog, though not a rubbish little yappy one like a Yorkshire or Cairn Terrier. And dogs seem to like me.
I think dogs know I'd let them get away with things. I'd let them run wherever they'd want, shitting and pissing, sniffing and tasting wherever they'd choose. With our 1980s dog, Cindy, I'd let her shit anywhere in the park, though thoughtfully she never defecated on the football or cricket pitches. I wasn't going to pick it up, it would have made me retch. Of course she'd shit in our garden, too. I'd spend hours going round with a spade, scooping it all up, plopping it in a bucket and tipping it into the sewerage system.
Dogs' waste, vets' bills and the inevitable illnesses and death are what stop me from getting one of these beautiful creatures. And the responsibility, of course. Responsibility for the two of us is all I can muster.
So, no, no children, no animals for the rest of our lives. Nothing to make our lives complete.
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