If there’s one thing that watching the brutal public court battle between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp has taught me, it’s to never marry a human. How can, in 10 years of knowing someone intimately, a relationship sour to such an extent that the only resolution is to rip each other apart in front of millions of people?
The testimonies of the alleged abuse have been harrowing. And for the world to be able to watch it seems so crass that it’s almost like a modern day Gladiator of words, except glory doesn’t await for anyone. Only a fleeting sense of satisfaction for the victor perhaps. And lasting trauma, especially for the least guilty party.
Do you know who definitely wouldn’t take you to court? Your dog.
I’m not suggesting we all end up the subject of a tabloid article: “Disturbed woman marries dog in sordid ceremony with leads.” God no, I’m not sick. But I do think if humans learnt from and appreciated dogs more, we would be much better for it.
The only dogs I’ve met that are in any way scary have always been mistreated by a human. No dog is just a d*** for no reason. And no, that’s not the same with humans, because we have a greater capacity to be good in spite of trauma. We understand the rulebook better, because most of us are more intelligent than our canine friends.
The pure nature of dogs is why the insult “b****” has always confused me. It’s a pokey and aggressive word. But most of the female dogs I’ve met have been well-rounded, loyal souls with excellent coats.
It’s such a cliche, but perhaps I do prefer dogs to humans. However seemingly straight forward, humans are always hiding some very complicated layers. I don’t blame us though – we have to stop ourselves every time we think about life, and then about space and then – ahhh, what is everything? Shut up, brain.
Being so hyper-conscious is terrifying, so naturally we are going to feel and come across a little unsure and odd, some if not all of the time. Unless you are like Donald Trump, of course, in which case you have about as much self-awareness as a rubber duck, and annoyingly, you will be fine.
But when everything is getting a bit too complicated for me (because I am a nuanced, worldly b****), nothing is more soothing than being around dogs. Perhaps it’s their soft squishy coats and droopy doe-eyes that make me want to stay with them forever. Or maybe it’s because I know they will always love me no matter what.
When I wailed and kicked as a child, which was probably quite often, my mum would put me in the dog bed with a mug of hot Ribena and I would stroke the soft ears of our old Lurcher. The noise and being the target of my clumsy hands can’t have been pleasant for him, but he would always stay until I stopped crying. It wouldn’t take long.
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The dog bed was my happy place. I liked how it sat patiently in the corner of the kitchen, slightly off kilter with the human world but present in case anything exciting happens, like food. Sometimes I even ate dog biscuits because I thought they smelt nice. The meaty chunks were the best.
Things haven’t improved much since. I still crave the musty smell of the dog bed when I’m feeling sorry for myself. Only now I’m an adult so I have to pretend, like with laughter and smarties, that I don’t need it anymore.
In our muddy modern lives, I think it’s the simplicity of dogs that makes them so comforting. Perhaps that’s why so many people got a fluffy pal in the throes of lockdown. Their only ulterior motive is food, walks and hugs, which is the kind of consistency I like. Although, come to think of it, my boyfriend is similar, which is a happy thought.
Sometimes I feel guilty that dogs are essentially our captives, but just like when I think about space too much, I shut that thought right down. Because something as pure as a hug from your favourite dog should not be analysed too much. And that is why dogs will always be the love of my life. Woof.