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Life can be ruff when faithful pets are smarter than their dumb owners

It's a dog's life sometimes.

These are stressful times. As if we didn't have enough to concern us, we now find ourselves worrying about those unfortunate Greeks who're being told that, because their country's broke, they can't retire in their 50s on a handsome state pension.

Like water in Ireland, it seems pensions are a human right in the sunny Aegean.

Luckily, we have lots of ways of relieving stress. Long walks are an option. At least by helping you save on petrol.


Listening to music is another. As long as it's not Chris Brown. (You thought I was going to say Glen Hansard, didn't you?) A good laugh is a sure-fire way of relieving stress. And RTE's summer schedule is playing its part in that regard. Laughable.

Mindfulness, the latest buzz word, is the big stress buster, but try telling that to a dog.

Like the Greeks, the poor unfortunate pet world is being driven demented by the people who hold the purse strings. Owners, as they're called.

We pride ourselves on being a civilised country, yet animal sanctuaries all over Ireland are overflowing with neglected or abused domestic pets and farm animals.

The cruelty isn't confined to those unwanted starving ponies that were dumped out along with the second and third family car when the recession hit. Or any of the actionable cases of appalling maltreatment that make the headlines.

The increasing number of animals with behavioural problems turning up in the clinics of veterinary surgeons is proof that lame-brained dog lovers are killing their animals out of stupidity.

A few examples from the Dr Carr's Go Figure School of Medicine illustrate how too many owners are as daft as a brush. By definition, pets are social animals, but selfish owners leave their pets alone all day while they're off working and partying.

Dogs need to be walked every day, yet thousands of dog aren't even taken for a walk once a week by airheads who don't know how to look after a pet. Unfortunate animals can't help it if they're being treated merely as a status symbol.

More of them are being dressed up in stupid clothes to satisfy an inane fashion accessory fetish and being walked on hot days without even a drink of water. As a result, although living in relative comfort, many faithful dogs are enduring miserable lives.

Among the problems being treated by vets are anxiety, anorexia, sleeplessness and aggressive behaviour.

Instead of happily wagging their tails, many dogs are severely depressed and are being prescribed even more Prozac than their dimwitted owners. Canine compulsive disorder is now a scourge of the animal kingdom. And it's inflicted by humans intent on proving they haven't a titter of wit.

At least the misfortunate pets don't know the terrifying fate that awaits their counterparts in China.

Ricky Gervais has been tweeting support for those protesting against the disgusting Yulin Dog Meat Festival where thousands of dogs and cats, many of them stolen pets, will be beaten to death or boiled alive in a wacko oriental festival of torture and slaughterhouse chic.

It's enough to put you off your burger. Even if you lived in Swords.


Citizens of the Fingal capital have been celebrating this week. Having recovered from the stigma of being branded Ireland's worst litter blackspot over a decade ago, in 2012 Swords was voted the third-best town in Ireland to live in.

Now comes the heady news that the town has been officially recognised as the Fast Food Capital of Ireland.

Swords, boasting more fast food outlets per head of population than even Limerick or Cork, knocked fast food friendly rivals Navan and Bray out of the park.

I'm still waiting to hear if the local chamber is planning an annual Fast Food Festival to capitalise on this exciting victory. When they do, I'll be there. As long as there's no dog meat on the menu.