Dogs: Their Secret Lives

“It is when we are most lost that we sometimes find our truest friends.”

Cynthia Rylant

So my parents quite recently acquired a pair of rescue dogs, turning the household from a one-cat family to a two-dog-and-one-grumpy-cat one. Apparently, this means that we now have to watch every single dog programme there is on telly, and, in case you hadn’t noticed, there are a LOT. Especially in the run-up to Christmas, when people like to look at cute things and be cheerful.

This particular episode of Dogs: Their Secret Lives is, according to the Channel 4 website, a sort of round-up affair, revisiting dogs that have previously been seen on the show because they were too fat or too neurotic or whatever to find out How They Are. Spoiler alert: they’re all better. Of course they are.

There’s an overweight King Charles spaniel who’s blatantly being fed on the sly at the owner’s pub (though the obviousness of this does not stop the presenter, vet Mark Walker, from rigging up cameras to keep an eye on the animal); a little black bull terrier type who won’t go outside; and a Scottish terrier who attacks his owner’s husband on a regular basis. It’s a little like Supernanny for dogs. (Superpetsitter?) Except that, unlike Supernanny, which was simply gratuitous voyeurism, Dogs: Their Secret Lives actually offers a few interesting tidbits, like the fact that dogs actually respond differently to different human emotions. You know you always secretly thought that your dog knew when you were upset? Turns out you were right.

It is, admittedly, fairly average fare for a Monday evening, but there are worse things to watch than fluffy happy doggies, and it’s amazing how much less annoying ‘average’ can be when you’re also preoccupied with counting stitches.* It’s certainly a good deal less irritating than, e.g., a nonsensical episode of Doctor Who (which is to say, all episodes of Doctor Who), and definitely more soothing than The Apprentice. So I’m not, on the whole, complaining.

*I’m sorry to go on about the knitting, but it is actually very diverting. And satisfying. There’s nothing like looking at a row of good purling (or even mediocre purling) to cheer you up.

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