Coutta’s Cut: Kiss the dog… pat the missus

I like dogs. In fact, I probably like dogs a bloody sight more than I like a lot of people. I’ve never had a dog lie to me, shit on me and, up until my current pup, I could have said stolen from me (she’s blown that one away). Or, in fact, done anything apart from given me unconditional love and loyalty.

Having said that, I have had dogs that unintentionally have got me into a bit of trouble from time to time. Quite a while ago, I wrote in this paper about a red heeler called Troupe. He got me into a fair bit of strife.

A few instances spring to mind. I had him when I was a cop on an outback settlement in the Northern Territory. A complaint came in one Sunday morning that Troupe had chased a camp dog into the church during a service and given it a bit of a towel up right beside the altar. That took a bit of sweet talking. Another was him doing raids most afternoons on the Tracker’s house that was always chock full of relatives. To see them bailing out windows was amusing at the time, but I’d hate to think of the consequences today. Imagine the headlines: Cop’s savage dog attacks innocent citizens, or something like that.

Probably the one that got me into the most trouble, and Troupe living another couple of days, was a bit touch and go was when he got sick of the kids teasing him when they went past the police house on the way to school. One day, at the end of classes, Troupe hid in the long grass outside the school. I don’t know whether he got the right ones but there were a few bites dished out. One of the teachers was a bit anti-police and he wanted blood. Some very skilled negotiation and a sympathetic O/C of the station kept Troupe breathing.

Another dog that caused me a few headaches was a german shepherd called Ceza. I suppose a lot of these problems were selfinflicted because Ceza was a police dog, and I was the one who gave him the orders. Having said that, he was strong-willed and thought he knew better than me—like the times he thought the burglar or other nefarious individual he caught needed a few more chews, after I had called then dragged him off.

He got off side with quite a few of the police staff due to him being colour blind. A blue uniform meant nothing to him. In a disorder or crowd-control situation, the staff on several occasions learned very quickly to give him the first choice of offenders. But, like Troupe, he bequeathed total loyalty to me whether I asked for it or not.

I purposely chose the dog subject this month because very soon a lot of us are going to be spending time with our mates with four legs. We’ll be asking them to continually go into freezing water, through thick shitty mud, gorse or blackberries and other places that, without a dog, we wouldn’t get our ducks and pheasants once we’d pulled off a good shot. They won’t moan, they won’t give up because we’ve pushed them too hard and they won’t stop being loyal.

So, after the first Saturday in May when your wife or partner goes crook when at bedtime you kiss the dog and give them a pat on the head, you’ll be able to explain why.

Catch you next month.

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