Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What Became Of Your Lamb, Clarice?

Spooky. I was getting a lift home from my pal Bruce last night after playing football (I say ‘playing’, but I almost got myself into two separate punch ups during the match… which was nice!) and he asked me why my newspaper column had been moved to a different day last week.

I explained that it was because the other Tuesday columnist also wrote about football last week so frankly my dear, they’d had enough of all the football writing for one day thank you very much.

Bruce sniggered in that girly way of his and said, “So what controversial subject matter will you be pontificating about tomorrow then… religion? Tee hee hee hee!” Arse!

And you know – from a certain point of view he was closer to the mark than he imagined. Read on now and see if you can spot the (very) tenuous link…

Regular readers of this column (Hi Mum!) will be perceptive to the fact that it’s never going to win any awards for investigative journalism. Indeed up until now, my concept of a sensational exposé happened during the week I was reading my “Household Management For Men” manual and I uncovered the revelation that bed linen should be changed and washed at least once every two weeks. Unbelievable!

But that hasn’t stopped me sniffing out potential stories of scandal, corruption or menacing threats to our very way of life. I can’t say too much at the moment but in the coming weeks I shall be fleshing out my suspicions that Katie Holmes may be pregnant.

However, this week I begin with an important, but little-known issue which came to my attention when an inconspicuous e-mail landed in my in-box. I was on the point of deleting it when my finely-tuned writer’s eye noticed that perhaps the message was intended for someone else.

“Dear Mr. McIntosh,” it began and in a flash I sat bolt upright in my chair, senses tingling at the prospect of having stumbled across a story of Watergate, or at least Holyroodgate, proportions.

The e-mail continued, “I'd like to ask if you would be willing to write an article on head collars for dogs for your Daily Record spot.” I had my doubts about whether many dogs would actually read the story but the conclusion of the message made things much clearer.

“We have a lovely 12 year old Rottweiler German Shepherd cross called Harray. He is very strong so on the occasion when he is on his lead, we use a head collar. Frequently people assume this is a muzzle and he must be vicious! I am losing patience with this! Maybe you would be willing to educate people via your article on this subject. Thanking you in anticipation!” Ms. M Wilson, Inverness.

Well, Ms. M Wilson of Inverness, I am only too happy to educate people because curiously enough, this is a subject very close to my heart. You see the closest I’ve ever come to obtaining a criminal record (not counting Barry Manilow’s ‘Bermuda Triangle’) was because of an alleged biting incident involving two German Shepherds I was supposed to be looking after. (I didn’t bite THEM; THEY bit someone else, allegedly.) Needless to say my lack of knowledge at the time about muzzles, head collars and all things dog related could have cost me dear.

In the past few days then, I’ve been redressing my ignorance by conducting some intense internet research on the matter. In true Woodward and Bernstein style, I’ve also been consulting with an authoritative source who, for the purposes of this report, wishes to be known only as Deep Throat Lozenge.

Sure enough my investigations have revealed that head collars for dogs are distinctly different from muzzles in both application and appearance. Head collars, invariably, are made up of two straps which go around the dog’s neck as well as the nose and mouth. They attach to a lead under the chin giving the owner more control when walking a large, powerful animal. (Deep Throat Lozenge was at pains to stress to me that this is the key distinguishing feature.)

A muzzle on the other hand is more of small mask or cage-like arrangement, specifically designed to deter biting, and wouldn’t be out of place if found on Hannibal Lecter during precarious prison transfers.

So there you have it. A head collar is NOT a muzzle and I for one will be thankful for the information the next time I’m asked to look after someone’s dogs.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting with Deep Throat Lozenge to discuss the Katie Holmes issue.

NOT a head collar!


At 18/10/05 7:41 pm, Blogger DC said...




At 20/10/05 12:16 am, Blogger Neil said...




At 20/10/05 10:36 pm, Blogger Green Glass Beads said...

What happened then?

At 21/10/05 6:30 pm, Blogger carl said...

Hey Neil,

Thats what I have to wear when I drive, anytime I drive. I become a mad-man at the idiots when I drive...bark, bark, bark, growl. Wish it was that way when I was around certain women or sports events.

Things are changing in my part of the blogging world. I have established a new blog called Spin This One. You are listed first as ALWAYS on it. You can find it at spinthisone.blogspot.com Infocow is still around but it will be a catch-all for my newspaper articles from now on.

Glad to see you had to put a stop to the effing "sales-people"...argh!



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