A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times



Well it’s been a slow week (Royal marriage, Bin Laden and all), so I thought I'd dig out something that I wrote a couple of years ago, pre-blog, that is still quite relevant in these days of constant protecting ourselves from the threat of impending terrorism.

From somewhere around August 2005:

In his stand up days, writer John Dowie commented that he preferred cats to dogs because you'd never get a cat joining the police force. And while this is amusing, I feel it is rather unfair on our canine companions as they don't appear to have had too much say in the matter, as they, like their feline adversaries are just ANYONE'S for tinned food.

Having put that little matter to bed, the British Police tend to only favour two particular breeds of dog:

The German Shepherd, an all purpose assault dog.
And the Springer Spaniel, an important tool, a sniffer dog.

The German Shepherd is the perfect animal for the typical police mindset, as it's ferociously, even psychopathically loyal to its handler, and views everyone out of uniform as a probable target. It doesn't do polite, and sees itself as just getting the job done. Sometimes innocent people will get hurt, but it’s all in a day’s work.

The Springer Spaniel on the other hand, appears to be completely off-message when it comes to its role as Police Dog.

Firstly, the average Springer Spaniel is permanently in a state of tongue-lolling tail-spinning over-excitement that would give any Sunny Delight imbibed three-year old a serious run for its money.

And secondly, it loves everybody unconditionally, much like a born-again Christian on Ecstasy.

Try to teach it discipline, and it generally replies, “What's that when it's at home?

I make this observation, as there is a considerable visible presence of these furry law-enforcers at the entrances of tube stations across the capital at the moment, as part of the olfactory arm of the war on terror. They are strategically, yet often unsubtly, led by their handlers across the concourse towards all-too-suspecting commuters, to whiff the air on the off-chance that someone may be carrying a compound of the loud stuff. (That’s explosives to you and me).

Actually, like the rest of the police presence, the dogs are there chiefly as a visibility exercise, a visible deterrent, a warning to those that MAY try it on, that they could get caught.

This brings me now, to my main point regarding the use
of a Springer Spaniel as a Police Dog.

Last evening (old story remember), at around 21.00 hrs, I was entering one such Underground Station, when my progress was blocked by an old dear, who was crouching over in order to calm down a highly animated Springer who was standing on his hind legs, tail whirling, with his front paws on her arm; LICKING HER FACE!  And the handler (totally oblivious to the fact) just stood there making amused small talk!

What sort of message could that possibly
throw out to the forces of evil?

(Unless, of course, it is assumed that a real baddie would rebuff the dog's advance with a cruel blow from a leather clad hand, thus identifying him as a wrong 'un. Hmmm, maybe I've been mistaken all along; maybe this subtle approach WILL work.)

However, I will never forget the time in 1989, on arrival at Bournemouth v. Manchester Utd, (FA Cup 4th Round) and the huge police presence there, as typically seen at football grounds across the nation during Thatcher's Eighties. There were a lot of German Shepherds, restlessly lining the streets around the ground.

One young lad, clearly impressed at the sight left his father's side and approached a dog, hand-first. All around him, there was one of those collective intakes of breath moments as the dog leaped viciously at the child, with handler in tow, and there was the sound of a palpable CHOP! of the dog's fangs as his jaw closed just inches short of the youngsters little outstretched fingers.

As the father bundled the boy away, and fans shouted belated warnings to the frightened child, the handler merely reined the frothing animal in to heel, once more standing to attention. He said nothing, neither apology, nor explanation ("never apologise, never explain" W. Churchill), he just resumed his duties.

Now THAT would have given the radical Islam Fundamentalists
something to think about.

I mean, would it be possible to enter paradise with a partly domesticated wolf attached to your balls?





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