We had cats when I was growing up, a series of them, many of whom lived to ripe old ages. The most memorable were Hepzibah, Sooty (mine) and Mischief (my sister’s, who was later renamed Eric by my mother after my sister moved out. Why Eric? Cast your mind back to Monty Python’s pet licence sketch).
Then there was the yappy dog. The yappy dog lived at my friend Stuart’s house. We’d go over there and play sometimes, and the yappy dog would bark a lot, bite my ankles and, I suspect, try to hump my foot. This one yappy dog was the major influence on my opinion of dogs during my childhood years, and the fact that I’m 33 and still remember it obviously means it had some impact.
So after all this, if anybody asked me if I was a dog person or a cat person, naturally the answer would be: Cat.
Maisie is Marita and Justine’s dog. Although I didn’t think about it at the time, obviously since I’m going out with Marita, it would have been a problem if I hadn’t got along with Maisie. Fortunately I do… so much so that when I go over there not only does she jump for joy, but her tail wags aplenty. She’ll spend several minutes in pure “It’s Daniel! It’s Daniel!” ecstasy.
You don’t see that amount of cheerfulness from cats. Okay so you get purring, you get bundles of warm fur that sit on you, but it’s only really in exchange for patting and food. A very business-like transaction. A happy dog seems to be happy almost unconditionally, and certainly not aloof like a cat.
Okay so Maisie has issues with other dogs, necessitating eternal vigilance during walks. Her fear of the noise of the trams outside is obvious (and indeed she is doubtful about the safety of the whole front section of the house). And she is unable to make the tea.
But such obvious enthusiasm for my presence could well mean my conversion to being a dog person.