LIFESTYLE: Humans Don't Know What Work Is!

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), March 15, 2004 | Go to article overview

LIFESTYLE: Humans Don't Know What Work Is!


NAME: Donnchadh

OCCUPATION: Regimental Mascot of the Irish Guards

SALARY: bed and board PERKS: campaign medal, lots of attention.

BEST BITS: food! walkies! playtime!

WORST BITS: bad hair days

PREVIOUS JOB: pup

IF I WASN'T DOING THIS I'D BE: hunting wolves

MANY human years ago, my ancestors hunted wolves in the great oak forests of Ireland.

Sadly, of course, we were so successful that now there are no wolves left to hunt.

And no oak forests, come to that, since they were all chopped down to make the great sailing ships of the Royal Navy.

Bit of a nuisance, really, on both counts, what with nothing to hunt and no trees to take a leak against.

Still, one must make do as best one can, and since 1902 the family have taken to being ceremonial mascots for the Irish Guards.

I am the 12th in this noble line, and the successor to Cuchulain, who died a human year ago, freeing him by day to roam in the fields of heaven and to sleep at night in the mountain caves of the Dog Star, which humans call Sirius.

Of course, there are other mascots in the Forces: the Fusiliers have an antelope, the Argylls have a Shetland pony, the Worcesters have a ram and the Yorkshires keep two ferrets as pets. Good grief.

Of course, none of these are dogs, so you don't need to bother too much about them.

In any case, since I am only 14 months old, Wednesday will be my first St Patrick's Day parade, so it's all been a bit busy of late.

On most days, I rise at seven and say hello to the neighbours in our little row of kennels: three spaniels which the humans have given rather silly names like Tod, Dobbie and Holly, although of course in the real world they are known as Fang, Prince of Trees, Zora, Death to Cats and Raja, Scourge of Postmen.

The humans need them to sniff out explosives - whatever explosives are.

Then it's time for brekkie, which is usually crunchy biscuits. Hurrah - my favourite!

Mind you, sometimes I get steak as a special treat, and that's even more my favourite, so I'm happy either way.

I always think how lucky I am being a dog, since everything makes me happy. Well, except perhaps my hair, but more of that later.

After brekkie, I usually rest for an hour, since us wolfhounds get terrible stomach cramps otherwise, and then at eight I get a splendid grooming from my pet human, who I call Lance.

Other humans come and go as well, but to be honest I couldn't tell you what their names are, since they all look the same to me, especially in those uniforms.

At nine, freshly groomed, I get taken off to the drill hall to listen to the drums and bagpipes of the regimental band.

Dreadful. No wonder humans say that a gentleman is someone who can play the bagpipes, but does not.

They sound like dad, Dog rest his soul, that morning after he went for a run straight after breakfast, and suffered the consequences all day. …

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