Category Archives: Comment

Karl Ove Knausgaard is wrong – writers should own dogs

The author blames his dog for the fact that he was blocked for two years. But pets provide a vital emotional lifeline for anybody who spends time alone…

In an essay for the New Yorker, Karl Ove Knausgaard has detailed two difficult years of owning a dog, wondering if its presence in his home was connected to the fact that he did not write a line of literary prose during that period. (“Merely essays and articles,” he notes.) It was such a problem for him, he writes, that his six-volume autobiographical series, My Struggle, was originally called The Dog. “Has a single good author ever owned a dog?” he asks drily.

The essay is not an indictment of dog ownership, as such. Knausgaard admits that the dog was barely trained, that he saw too much of himself in the animal and that the failings were his own. He ended up giving it to a family, he says, that knew how dogs should be treated.

But Ernest Hemingway had dogs, as did, to name just a few others, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, EB White, John Cheever, PG Wodehouse and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. For writers who are not struggling to get down six volumes of painfully detailed autobiography – or freelancers without fixed hours, or anyone who works from home, or anyone who lives alone – having a pet can be a salve. A good dog is good company, less demanding than another person and far more devoted, in exchange for ear scratches. I have found that isolation feels muted with an animal around, even if the only things you have said that morning are: “Was that you?” and “What haveyou been eating?”

Crucially, a dog forces you into the world. If you have a problem to solve, time away from a screen in the fresh air makes you think differently. Before having a dog, if I had a busy week, I could stay indoors for longer than is healthy. Without exercising social skills, it’s incredible how quickly they start to collapse. Dogs take you outside, they make you walk and move, they train you in the art of polite chat with strangers. Dogs make the world seem less cold and less alien. Isn’t that the point of the best writing, too?

From The Guardian

The Great Lafayette

‘The more I see of man, the more I love my dog’

Great Layafette

Yesterday we went into London to see the ENO’s performance of The Mikado. While having coffee in the break we stood next to an old poster from the venue (The Coliseum). The Great Lafayette was mentioned so we took a look on the WWW to find out a little more. What a fabulous story.

To read about the Great Layafette and his best friend Beauty, click here.

Dogs don’t sleep upside down

An episode of QI from a couple of years ago included the statement that dogs don’t sleep upside down. Well that’s just ridiculous – as any dog owner would know.  Here is Couscous from yesterday afternoon. I’m watching tv and she’s snoring away on my lap – upside down.

Dogs dont sleep upside down comp

Hop Farm hot dogs



I saw a shorn, wire-hair in Brussels the other day and a fine looking red, short-haired doxie as well.

Belgium BOZAR Magazine ad

Belgium BOZAR Magazine ad


First visit

We visited the Rowe’s on Saturday, on the edge of the New Forest. They have 8 dogs and now 8 pups (until we get our hands on one).

Here are a couple of photos of the two that came out to play the longest.

Not camera shy

Not camera shy

Good teeth

Good teeth

Had enough

Had enough


Visit pending

We have just arranged to visit Lily and her pups on December 5th.   I think we are getting a girl but I’m not sure why that is – we never expressed a desire for one or the other so it doesn’t matter.  We’ll get to pick her up the week before Christmas – how exciting.

Sad news

We have just heard that Jessie’s pregnancy did not go well. One of three pups survived and has been returned to the father’s house.  We hope Jessie recovers quickly! We have met another lady who was to have pups in the near future but we never heard if her bitch fell pregnant. So I will now contact her and see how things are going with her dog Lily.

Good news

We’ve had news that Jessie is pregnant and the pups are due mid September. Exciting.


Just watched an episode of the Swedish ‘Wallander’ series where the village idiot blows himself up along with a wire-haired dachshund called Gretel. Not fair – why did the dog have to get it?