When a dog and his owner walk around a corner in the street, it’s the human who’s generally at the rear, and the canine that’s straining at the leash (maybe in the expectation that a ginormous juicy bone awaits him).
This was the scene I experienced one morning when I left home, the dog in question being a golden Cocker Spaniel, its owner a chuckling schoolboy tugging at the lead with all his might.
In my mind’s eye I saw a picture of the boy taking his dog to school, and imagined how the day would pan out. Thirty schoolchildren, one teacher, one Cocker Spaniel. Mayhem, probably.
Actually I’m certain that my imagination was working overtime and the lad was simply walking the dog round the block before returning it to his Mum’s car. The Boy Who Took His Dog To School was an entertaining vision for a couple of minutes, however.
Although (with the exception of a goldfish) I’ve never actually owned a pet, there’s little doubt that being around animals can be a substantial mood lifter, especially when it’s a creature such as a dog, cat or horse which seems to understand you, perhaps even to know how you feel.
If you’re a pet-owner you’ll already appreciate this, but if you don’t share your living arrangements with a furry or feathered friend, do try to make opportunities for close encounters with other species.
Offer to take a neighbour’s dog for a walk. Talk to a cat in the street if she feels inclined to allow you to. Simply, and quietly, observe a wild bird or squirrel.
Even pretend you’re Dr Dolittle, if you like. I won’t tell anyone.