Horses not hounds

Why is it people always think if you like horses, you’ll like dogs too? I just don’t get it.

I love horses, I adore their size, their individual characters, their intelligence, their velvet noses, and above all the bond you build with them – there’s something very special about building a bond of complete trust with such a large animal, especially one that has came to you with serious trust issues due to not having had the best start in life. I’m a horse person, but I’m really NOT a dog person, or indeed any type of kept in the house pet. Why? I’ll share a little insight into my younger years and you may begin to understand.

Anyone who has read the “About’ section of this blog will have learnt, The Parents are animal nuts; to them life without a dog and cat is just existence. Over the years they’ve become a little bit more moderate in their approach to pets and have gone from a large collection of strays to a much more normal assortment of one dog and one cat (both ex-strays). Unfortunately this change only took place after I’d left home.

Childhood for me involved animals, lots and lots of animals. The standard collection was generally made up of four dogs, four cats, a rabbit, a hamster, gerbils, a chinchilla, goldfish and even on occasion a budgie because some old dear had died and it needed a home. They all shared our living space and it was like living in a mini animal shelter. If we were living in a big house with lots of land maybe I’d feel differently, but we weren’t – we were living in a standard 3-bed semi.

Normal in our house was a constant smell of damp dog (or worse if they’d found something revolting to roll in), fighting the cats for a space on the sofa, guarding your food with your life, and hair, so much dog and cat hair everywhere – on your clothes, on the furniture, on the beds and even in the fridge; and that was with twice a day vacuuming. Christmas presents containing food, or even smelling like they might, couldn’t be left under the tree, and chocolates hanging on the Christmas tree were luxuries enjoyed by other people. The rabbit, chinchilla, hamster and gerbils  were merely cute, lovable by-standers.

The house, and life, revolved around the animals especially the dogs and that included holidays. No holidays abroad for us, oh no, always camping because the dogs could come too. Yep, that was four dogs, two adults and a young me, plus all the required camping paraphernalia squashed into one small hatchback car (an aging Mini Traveller or Renault 4 I’m told – The Parents have never been ones for spending money on cars). Dog hair, dog breath, dog farts, and occasionally dog sick too were all to be endured on the journeys to a week in North Devon, Cornwall or Wales. It usually rained on these trips, the tent often leaked, I constantly moaned (one of the reasons a favoured pet name The Parents had for me was ‘Moan and Gripe’) about being dragged on yet another walk (strangely I love walking now), and one reoccurring memory that always sticks in my mind from these trips is being huddled up in a sleeping bag, in a damp tent surrounded by four wet dogs and their characteristic damp smell.

So while The Parents embrace pets, and think I’m weird because I don’t (oh the arguments it causes), I have adopted a strict ‘no animals in the house’ policy…but pets outside? Well that’s a different matter!



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