Walking a dog for a living is a simple task really.
Collect said pooch from its place of residence. Transport safely and without incident to a place secure for canine carousing. Pick up poop. Transport safely and without incident back to place of residence.
But who knew that one might also require the skills of a diplomat to do so?
Like most dog walkers, I keep in regular text contact with my clients, often updating them throughout the day when necessary of pooch’s every … ahem … movement.
One such text exchange this week reminded me of those euphemisms that teachers employ in children’s report cards.
You know the kind of thing:
“Jocasta tries very hard” really means Jocasta is thick as mince but game.
“Archie is very popular with his classmates” equals Archie is a smart alec who likes being the centre of attention.
“Beth is always eager to please” is a big hint that Beth is a damn pest to the teacher.
“Max enjoys the more active tasks” translates to Max won’t sit still for one second.
Teachers are adept at being economical with the actuality when summing up their pupils and parents equally adept at deciphering the real message within.
So it is with our four-legged chums who often exhibit behaviour that might not meet with their owners’ expectations and most definitely not their preference – as a previous blog catalogued.
Hence I find myself channelling my inner teacher to deliver a daily report card on Fido’s outing.
“A really lively run” might mean the little sod went rabbit hunting for 30 minutes while you shouted yourself hoarse.
“Lots of exuberance on display” implies that he humped everything in sight.
“Showed great appetite and energy” does not reveal the sorry tale of how she hijacked a picnicking family and ate everything in sight while you vainly chased her like an eejit.
“Nonstop action all the way today” insinuates that he rolled in something so smelly folks in the next postcode are getting a whiff of it.
The line we tread is a fine one, filled with subtlety and tact. Occasionally, however, you just have to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
It’s easy to disguise when Toots has done a disappearing act but reappeared just before you’re desperate enough to be ready to call in a search party.
What the eye doesn’t see, the heart won’t grieve over, as the old proverb has it.
But it’s not quite so easy to cover up when Lassie has lathered herself in the foulest of foul gak. When Alfie rolled in duck poo, it took one week and four baths to remove the odour.
Try euphemistically expressing that in a text!