Saturday 27 January 2007

Dog poo on the streets of Brussels

This week’s issue of the Bulletin, newsweekly of Europe’s capital, caught my attention and especially a one line sentence in an article entitled “The blog goes bio”.
This article relates how Le Soir, one of Belgium’s daily papers has launched an eco-blog on its website. It brings together articles on everything from noise pollution around Brussels airport, fines for rubbish dumping, food issues on over-fishing and on poor treatment of piglets on some Belgian farms. Dudley Curtis, the author says: “Bizarrely I couldn’t find anything on what is for many expats the biggest environmental issue of all: dog mess on the streets of Brussels.” He goes on to suggest: “Perhaps that needs a blog of its own. Any volunteers?”

Well, here I am. I do get irate about this. A few years ago, I was a victim of dog mess on my pavement. Passing my garage three times a day, a young couple walked two Bernese Mountain Dogs. Apparently the dogs liked the pavement outside my garage, every morning I was greeted with a heap of poo, which I cleaned up so that passers-by would not tread in it. This went on for weeks. One day I could stomach (sic) it no longer and went to the local police station and asked to see “l’agent de quartier” (the officer assigned to my area). He was a very attractive man in his middle fifties wearing jeans, a white T-shirt, a leather jacket, Ray Bans, was chewing gum and had whitened teeth. How could he help, he asked with his Hollywood smile. We started talking about the neighbourhood. The traffic, the parking offences, petty crime and …dogs. He travelled everywhere by bus, he told me. I welcomed the information especially since I had not asked for it. “Could I just come back to the subject of dogs?” I suggested. He said he liked dogs but had never been a member of the “brigade canine’ (dog brigade). He was not “into that sort of police work”. I did not go into this. Why did I want to see him, he enquired. So I told him that my patience was running out, that I never saw the dogs and their owners and that I could never catch them in flagrante delicto and could he do something about it. “Leave it with me.” were his parting words as he shook my hand. I thought I had been politely sent packing and the issue brushed under the carpet. I could not have been more mistaken. A few days later, I received a telephone call from the police station to say that the matter had been dealt with and that I should suffer no further inconvenience. I never saw the dogs again nor the couple for that matter. As far as I was concerned the problem had been solved. Three cheers for the efficiency of my local police station and the LAPD look alike policeman.
NB: my blog can be used to discuss dog mess on the streets of Brussels.

Sunday 21 January 2007

Dog owners live longer

A recent study shows that dogs are good for your health. They offer companionship and the benefits of owning a dog produce more positive influence than cat ownership.
Dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol. They also suffer fewer minor ailments and serious medical problems. Plus regular “walkies” are good for you. The study also suggests that dogs could aid recovery from serious illness such as heart attacks and act as “early warning” to detect epileptic seizure.
Dr Wells from Queen’s University in Belfast goes on to say that dogs can promote our well being by buffering us from stress, one of the major risk factors associated with ill-health. Owning a dog can lead to increases in physical activities and facilitate the development of social contacts, which enhance both physical and psychological human health.
As a conclusion she says:
“In some cases, the social support offered by an animal is greater than the support another human could offer.”

Thursday 18 January 2007

Lord Byron's dog

Lord Byron (1788-1824) honoured his beloved Newfoundland with the following inscription on a monument in Newstead Abbey:
'Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the memory of
Boatswain, a Dog
Who was born at Newfoundland, May 1803
And died at Newstead, Nov.18th 1808."

Wednesday 17 January 2007

New Blog

This is a brand new blog which I have just set up to share my dog training experiences with you but also to tell you some of the funnier aspects of dog training.