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Laura Craik on the rules of dog etiquette

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 15/05/2019 Laura Craik
a dog sitting on a bed © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Dunno about you, but it’s been a while since I’ve been at the receiving end of pure, unsolicited rage.

There I am, walking into the pub, mouth watering at the thought of the pint of beer I am about to drink to reward myself for… just basically being alive. When out of nowhere, a huge dog rears up and barks at my goldendoodle, Stevie, his giant ball-sack dangling like a fist. ‘DID YOU NOT HEAR ME?’ shouts his owner. ‘YOU STUPID WOMAN. JUST STANDING THERE LIKE…’ He cocks his head from side to side, the universal mannerism for ‘you stupid woman’ that must be taught at St Asshat’s School for D***s. Everyone in the pub swivels their heads. Children look scared. Honestly, this dog is the size of a horse. It might even be a horse, for all I know, only a horse wouldn’t be so aggressive. 

So we back out of the pub; the man shouts at me some more, then gets into his Mercedes. Well. We are shaken, but fortified by the knowledge that the entire Lansdowne is on our side. As one man points out: ‘It’s the dogs who make this pub.’ 

May is one of the most popular months to acquire a puppy (toilet training is easier in the spring), so this might be an apposite time to discuss London dogiquette. First, it’s worth remembering that there are no bad dogs: only bad owners. Since I’ve had Stevie, I’ve met an owner who had never let her three-year-old labradoodle off its lead, another who admitted never to picking up his spaniel’s poo and a third who feeds his poodle leftover curry. I guess we should just be thankful that it isn’t the spaniel being fed leftover curry.

Getty © Getty Getty

Here, then, are a few handy tips on dogiquette:

• Always carry poo bags — if you forget them, use the nearest leaf.

• And then hand sanitiser.

• When your dog nicks a tennis ball, don’t just stand there and fondly say, ‘He really loves balls’. An entitled dog is just as annoying as an entitled toddler.

• If your dog is the size of a horse with the temperament of Thanos, leave it outside the pub. Londoners are wonderfully tolerant of dogs — sometimes more than they should be.

Dotty about the dress

a person wearing a dress: The fabled Zara spotty dress © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited The fabled Zara spotty dress

I’ve been congratulating myself for buying waaay fewer clothes than I used to, but then spring comes along and suddenly I ‘need’ a dress. Hello, Zara website, my bankrupting friend. Whenever I go into an actual Zara store, the clothes look bogging. But zara.com’s *dark genius* unique practice of showing the same dress on two or three different models — one black, one white, one over 30 — really hooks me. Soon, I’m buying away as though global warming isn’t real.

Although I’m not the only one: how else to explain the freakish proliferation of this £39.99 polka dot dress? How long can you go without spotting one in your office? I give it 10 minutes.

Kindness in mind

It's time to take notice of children's mental health (Alamy Stock Photo) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited It's time to take notice of children's mental health (Alamy Stock Photo)

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, so as good a time as any to remember not only to check in on anyone of your acquaintance who suffers, but also the people who support them. One in 10 children aged five to 15 have a diagnosable mental health disorder and, in the past 10 years, hospital admissions related to teenage girls self harming have increased by 68 per cent. London’s secondary schools seem to be highly competitive, pressured environments, the likes of which I don’t recognise from my own schooldays. Stressed kids take it out on each other just like adults do. Given that half of all adult mental illness starts before a child is 14, it’s also worth teaching your kids to be kind to one another. It’s a more valuable life skill than any GCSE.

MSN UK are Empowering Happiness for mental health awareness month. Find out more about our campaign and the charities working to stop people falling into crisis here.

Gallery: 21 Photos That Prove Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs [Best Life]

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