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I’ve got no desire for a pet. Neither parrot, goldfish, gerbil, snake, praying mantis, cat, nor dog; as much as they are cute and cuddly (except for the mantis, perhaps) I am happy to enjoy them from afar.

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Next door’s cat eyeing me, suspiciously.

Dogs, I suppose, are the most populous of pets, yet they can be the most objectionable.

Dogs that ignore even the simplest of commands, and run around sniffing each other’s – and humans – bits, jumping up, licking their butts, then licking faces, barking, poo-ing randomly, are annoying in the extreme. But is it their fault?

The fault is with the owner. The one who treats their dog the same as their child – with a ‘coochie-coo, little sweetie can do no wrong’ approach. What is really needed is some military-style discipline, simple, one-word commands, and a stern voice. Kids and dogs can be trained with the same methods. (May need a slight variation with feeding and toilet procedures.)

Cats, on the other hand, control their owners. They also have a pretty good idea how to get the best out of their neighbours. Take Casper and Spookie, for example. We feed them while the neighbour is away, they (the cats) reward us with purring, nuzzling around the legs, and rolling over to accept a tummy-tickle. But, once the neighbour is back, it’s as if we have never met. They, especially Spookie, rebuff our advances, and ‘here puss, puss’, sashay along the fence, then scuttle away, as if we are after their pelts.

So, we remain a pet-free zone. Although, we are always under scrutiny, observation from a discreet distance – just in case we can be of use … or have food.