A Weapon of Mass Distraction
Forming groups is one of the positive aspects of the socialised human being. It is because of groups that human history has developed in the way that it has. It is usually better to pool resources and talents in order to create bigger and better things and to move forward. It is because of the human social instinct to form groups that we have, for example, schools and governments, societies that work for the advancement of specialised skills, charities working towards special needs and clubs that get together because the members have a shared interest.
There is enormous benefit to be gained from group effort, particularly if something needs to be changed in the society in which you live. If a large project needs to be undertaken, spreading the load between members of a group will make the task easier and quicker. For people who need support for a health problem or the health of a loved one, or for people who are lonely, joining a group can be a life saver.
Groups are a good thing and society is the better for them.
There is a downside too. Take cults, for example. A charismatic leader who brings a group of weaker minded individuals together, coercing these easily-led souls into an unsavoury lifestyle and, often, malicious acts towards society at large. Political groupings that form on both the extreme right and the extreme left are an example of what we don't need in our society, as are groups of religious fanatics who do so much harm. We won't even go there.
I don't do groups. I don't do committees and I don't do politics. I can't bear the thought of sitting around talking for hours over trivial matters that could be solved in an instant with action rather than discussion. I'm not over-fond of the sound of my own voice and I don't need to feel important. I don't do coffee mornings, tennis afternoons or ladies lunches and I'm not a pillar of society.
I have never belonged to an embroiderers' guild. Not because I don't think that they have a place in the advancement of the craft. They do. But I would rather stitch than take the time to attend a meeting where I have to listen to people waffling on. And I can't be doing with all the rules that they have made up over the years. Rules from which they think everyone should not deviate.
That's me, an individual. And this little character trait is to blame for the fact that I have no spare time at the moment.
I have, as many of your know, a beautiful male Boxer called Neville. He is mad and crazy, soppy and affectionate, obsessive about chasing anything that we will agree to throw for him, he adores his human family, wants to play with any dog that he comes across and he does not have an aggressive bone in his body. Moreso than any Boxer that I have ever had, he has the kind of temperament that needs to be passed on.
But the Kennel Union says he can't do that. Because he is white.
I am fully aware of the fact that, like Dalamations and white Bull Terriers, there is a small chance of a white puppy being born deaf but I also know that despite the fact that white puppies are never bred from and have been euthinased for many years (happily that travesty has now stopped), the incidence of white puppies born has remained fairly constant at about twenty percent. Not breeding from white Boxers seems to have made no difference. The white gene has not been bred out.
I once gave a lift to a breeder and dog-show enthusiast. It was a long lift involving a 12-hour journey and during our many hours in the car she explained all the ins and outs of breeding a fine-looking dog, one that ticked all the right boxes, one that enhanced the characteristics of the breed. She explained that this often involved mating dogs that were related to one another and whilst it was fine to pair father and daughter, it didn't work if you were to mate son to mother. She called it "line-breeding" and confirmed that this was condoned by the Kennel Union. Well, I'm sorry. I call that in-breeding and I'm afraid it's to blame for many of the health problems found in pedigreed pure bred dogs. Things like hip dysplasia and cancers. Quite apart from physical defects, I am not sure that breeding for looks takes a dog's temperament into account and for my money, temperament is more important.
So, after long and careful thought, knowing that no breeder is ever going to want to borrow Neville to sire puppies, despite the fact that his own sire was himself a UK champion, I decided that I would get him a wife. I can't let that unique personality stop with him.
And that is why I'm so short of time.
Last Thursday I fetched Brenda. A well bred brindle Boxer bitch that is not in any way related to Neville, I asked her breeder to choose the calmest, least aggressive little girl in the litter of ten pupppies. And here she is.
Is that not the sweetest face that you have ever seen? Neville is enchanted and so are we. He is gentle with her, allows her to eat from his bowl and shares his toys with her. In turn, because she came from an exceptionally well-cared-for litter and only left her mother at eight weeks, she is confident, happy and healthy. She is a little scamp and we might have to change her name to Rascal or even Rubbish.
I have a book to finish, it's still a way off and that is unfortunate because little Brenda is turning out to be something of a time waster. Quite apart from regular trips onto the lawn for her to do the necessary, it's just too tempting to stop what I'm doing to give her a cuddle, and another one, and another one. Particularly when she stares at me with that sweet face and those appealing brown eyes.
Completely irresistable and in the best possible way............,.a Weapon Of Mass Distraction.