This toy dog may take the bis­cuit

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

IT’S the most pe­cu­liar time of the year. The time when, once again, you wan­der among girls’ clothes and women’s ac­ces­sories, un­der the wary gaze of the X-Fac­tor-Diana clones man­ning (gir­ling?) the shops. They must guess, surely, you are buy­ing all th­ese glit­tery fri­vol­i­ties for moth­ers, and nieces, and fe­male friends … mustn’t they? It’s the time when you hap­pen across things which oth­er­wise wouldn’t haunt your worst night­mares, like a toy dog, ap­par­ently sell­ing out fast at around £120, which read­ily re­sponds to com­mands like “sit up” and “beg” which, ad­mit­tedly, is more than the near­est real dog of my ac­quain­tance can be re­lied upon to do. Nor does this toy re­quire walk­ing, wee-ing or watch­ing like a hawk when there’s toast around. How­ever, if the toy “Bis­cuit” is the must-have gift of the year, one can only feel sorry for its left-on-the-shelf pro­to­type, “Filo”, whose pro­gram­ming was lim­ited to rolling over adorably and mak­ing “real puppy sounds” and whose sale price has been re­duced to a measly £31. Ac­cord­ing to re­search by the Uni­ver­sity of Vi­enna’s neu­ro­bi­ol­ogy depart­ment, th­ese puppy sounds might in­clude howls of jeal­ousy over the ar­rival of Bis­cuit. Yes, the land which gave us Wittgen­stein, Dop­pler and Freud has fi­nally ex­er­cised its con­sid­er­able grey mat­ter on sci­en­tific ev­i­dence that dogs get jeal­ous, a the­ory I could have proved for noth­ing by show­ing them how my friend the grey­hound al­ways ma­noeu­vres it­self be­tween me and its owner when­ever we go for a walk. Some of our other friends say you must es­tab­lish a wolf­pack hi­er­ar­chy be­tween the hu­mans and the dog, but there’s a risk of the woman and my­self end­ing up at each other’s throats in an bid to es­tab­lish lead­er­ship. “Are you top dog yet?” they tease me, know­ing full well that in the present bat­tle for supremacy I rank not only be­low her grey­hound but some way be­hind the row of ce­ramic bird whis­tles she keeps on a shelf over her telly. I thought about res­cu­ing a Filo. I could be top dog over a toy, prob­a­bly. But I’m wor­ried that the grey­hound might think it was her puppy, and sort of adopt it, and then the woman would get jeal­ous be­cause the dog didn’t like her the best any more – and no amount of Christ­mas girly ac­ces­sories is go­ing to make up for that.

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