If you live in the North – and you can define where that starts – then you will often be called ‘Pet’ by complete strangers. What is meant by this salutation depends on the circumstances – in a shop where you have just purchased a brown paper bag of sherbets, it means that you are very welcome, please come back soon and your custom is appreciated.

If you have just bought a bus ticket there is a slightly different meaning – here, you are being congratulated for making a wise decision and thus keeping the bus journey alive and well.  On both occasions, us Southerners think we are being singled out for untrammelled affection, that we have some sort of magical aura which produces and deserves such approval.  Dream on, Pet – you are just ordinary and that is the ordinary epithet for the situation you have stumbled into. They are warm up there, you know

Here in cooler London no one would dream of calling you ‘Pet’. Even if you are one. We just do not do that in case it might be mistaken for an undue rush of affection or even a chat up line.

I have never known a pet to be called Pet either – perhaps you pet owners know better?

Ah! Pet owners. Or perhaps people who have pets – pet people – are in a category of their own.

We who live without a pet are horrified to learn that some pets are not only allowed but are encouraged to sleep in their owners’ beds. Do you not know why dogs lick your face?  Have you not seen how a dog interrogates another dog or what other horrors a dog does with its tongue? And you allow that to occupy your bed?

A medium sized dog will cost in a medium length life about £40000, a cat about £35000.  If you are lucky.  But, of course, it IS worth it – the affection, the loyalty, the unity of purpose in a shared walk, the joy of the warm plastic poop bag – what more could one ask?

Then there are odd pets – parrots, snakes, mice, rats, newts, and stick insects to mention a few. But these could be considered normal – how about pet logs?

You see my somewhat deaf and dotty Aunt Daphne was convinced that Cousin Amanda had a pet log called Lucifer.  ‘How is Lucifer?’ ‘Is Lucifer fully developed now or is still growing?’  ‘Do you think there might be baby logs before long?’ ‘Would you like a log basket for Christmas?’ (Well, it was actually a rather good idea, said Cousin Amanda thus creating a whole new cycle of pet log questions). Whatever – it made Aunt Daphne very happy and Cousin Amanda had a warm house. To add fuel to the log fire – as it were – Cousin Jack once wrote to Aunt Daphne saying he had a new job in logistics, thus ensuring his spot in her will too.

All in a good cause – perhaps it is time I got one.

Ta’Ra Pet. Oops, sorry – bye for now.

Duncan Christie-Miller                                                      All rights Reserved© September 2020