27 April 2007

Man’s Best Friend c.12,000BC-2007

Man’s Best Friend has rolled over and played dead for the last time following the announcement that Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac, has produced Reconcile – a chewable, beefy-flavoured selective serotonin reuptake inhabitor for dogs – freeing the canine world from the centuries of depression that fuelled its desperate need to buddy up to Man.

Man’s Best Friend, Canis lupus familiaris, is descended from wolves, those deeply unhappy creatures forced to sublimate their terrible inner turmoil and lack of self-confidence into growling, sheep-savaging and appearances in horror movies until they realised that by hanging around on the fringes of human settlements and howling forlornly at the Moon they might get Mankind to take pity and domesticate them.

Soon Man’s Best Friend was earning his keep by fetching and carrying Stone Age slippers (not easy for a Chihuahua), begging oh-so-cutely for scraps of food at the table and enthusiastically shagging the leg of any passing visitor, all in an attempt to disguise the terrible futility and endless ennui of a dog’s life.

Over the long, lonely millennia Man’s Best Friend sank into a deep pit of despair, exacerbated by its maintenance of a furry, upbeat façade as it chased sticks, wagged its tail and pretended that it enjoyed being done up like a dog’s dinner and paraded in front of its peers at humiliating dog shows around the globe.

Deeply frustrated at its failure to communicate its growing depression to Mankind, it spent increasing hours chewing the furniture, barking “and what time do you call this?” at the postman and sleeping in its basket – where its disturbing dreams clouded by thoughts of self-harm and the pointlessness of existence were, tragically, misinterpreted by its owners, who simply cooed, “Aw… He’s dreaming about cats…!”

Attempts by Man’s Best Friend to deal maturely with his Black Dog where cruelly thwarted when therapists refused to counsel him – sharply ordering the four-footed Freudian nightmare to get off the couch. That a turning point had been reached became clear last year, with claims that several hundred show-dogs – unable to cope with the burden of being in the public spotlight as they fought to mask their crushing loneliness – threatened a mass suicide at Crufts.

The announcement that the new prozac-like drug is now available in chewable form for dogs, has sent a (high-pitched and inaudible) signal to the doggie world that its unhappy dependency on Man is over. Dogs in their millions have besieged their vets begging (oh-so-cutely) for a prescription of the canine happy pill that puts the spring back in their step and the smile back in their bark… Thus it is that Man’s Best Friend has ceased to be a poodle.

Man’s Best Friend will be wrapped in his favourite blanket and buried at the end of the garden next to that tree he almost killed by urinating on it copiously every day. It is survived by Man’s New Best Friend – Man's cat, hamster, goldfish, Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, newt or stick insect – who really, really does love you… of course he does …! Look, he’s trying to tell you something…! Yes he is…! Yes he is….!