To tell you the truth, I am rather ambivalent about dogs. As a child, we never had dogs in our family and as an adult homeowner the idea of adopting or buying a dog never occurred to me.
Once, when I was a relief nightwatchman in a caravan factory, I became quite attached to an Alsatian guard dog called Shane. Shirley's mother and father also had an Alsatian called Emma. She was a farm dog who slept in a kennel and was rarely allowed in the house.
Anyway, the other night a bloke I hardly know came to join me and Bert at our table in the local pub. Lord knows why, but it wasn't long before he started sounding off about the issues he has with dogs and dog ownership.
He talked of the massive amount of food that pet dogs eat in Great Britain and said that if re-processed this food would be perfectly fine for humans to consume. He also banged on about the number of car journeys that are taken because of dogs - usually to places where they can enjoy walks with their owners. He also mentioned fatal dog attacks and diseases caused by dog faeces - such as canis toxocara.
As I say, I have never given dogs much mind and have certainly never begrudged dog ownership as that man appeared to do. I know that pet dogs can bring much comfort to their owners - rather like good friends do.
However, some of his points have been swirling around in my mind these last few days and I have thought about the environmental impact that dog ownership is having upon our weeping planet. In Britain 33% of households own dogs and the dog food market is worth an estimated £1.5 billion a year. I was unable to find out how many car miles are travelled each year specifically to take dogs for walks but I imagine that it is quite a lot and of course every one of these journeys involves burning fossil fuels
I guess that this is a pretty emotive subject. Several of my favourite blogs are managed by proud dog owners and I was wondering what you and others might think about these environmental concerns surrounding dog ownership.
I am now not really sure how I feel about this matter any more and so your input would be much appreciated as I try to reach some clarity.