Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Can you teach an old Dog New tricks?

The new show on MIDLANDS 103 FM on MONDAYS at 11.20 exposes me to more unvetted commentary than the radio coverage of George Lee's long goodbye. Yesterday's on air phone-in heard the case of the lady with four house cats, two male and two female, which were all neutered and of varying ages. Her problem was the particularly smelly and unhygienic case of the eldest male cat who insisted on coming indoors to relieve himself each day.

This behaviour is known as spraying and is normally a territory-marking habit of entire male cats. In this instance I surmise that this Tom was neutered too late for his characteristic male sexual behaviour to change.

My answer was simply not to tolerate this, to keep the cat outdoors, to prioritise the comfort and hygiene of your own home over the disrespectful moggy's egotistical territoriality. My motherin law who is a farmer with a commonsense innate knowledge of animal behaviour texted me after the show. Her solution to that lady's cat issues would involve the combination of an open back door, a large boot and a feline projectile. There is a time for diplomacy and a time for action to paraphrase Ian Paisley and King Solomon.

Speaking of old dogs and old cats and new tricks, an owner of two springer bitches lives across the road from the clinic in Portarlington. Yesterday morning before heading to Tullamore for the radio show I stitched a few nasty bite wounds on the older bitch of the two who is now being bullied by the other bitch, her former friend. These new hostilities began after bitch one had a litter of pups which are now all weaned and are some four months old. One could speculate on the reasons for the new fights.Perhaps it is jealousy or perhaps the younger bitch now wants to assume the alpha or dominant role. Undoubtedly the recent presence of the pups changed the dynamic between the pair.

Our client collected his bitch this morning and against our advice put the first one straight back into the yard with the aggressor. Ten minutes later he appeared back in the clinic with his bitch newly lacerated and standing in a pool of her own blood. More triage followed. Now the course of action will have to be separate yards, a new fence and a period of acclimitisation across the fence before these two can MAYBE become pals again. OR maybe not.

Speaking of acclimitisation and indeed decontamination, the Boy George was very naive to think his self-proclaimed talents would automatically gain him a controlling role at the centre of Oireachtas power. George was hardly fulsome in his compliments of any of his Dail colleagues in his work with RTE. More loose cannon than messiah, in my view George's high decibel indignation as a reporter did more harm to Ireland's foreign credibility than good over the last couple of years.Both his own political colleagues and other parties'were therefore bound to keep him at arms length for a while until he gained some allies or victories. In any organisation the new boy has to use his elbows, his diplomacy and due diligence to gain management's trust. Why would Fine Gael be any different to any working environment?

In the climate of hype and hyperbole that the national media perpetuate the other argument we hear is that " George's talents" should have been "used". To do what exactly and how? The fact is that George is one of many well-qualified economists in the country. Economics is an inexact science. In economics the right answer is often only evident after the fact. Many more qualified economists than George have proffered as many different opinions as there are PhDs out there on the world economic stage. To pull one lever of economic policy is often only as wrong or as right as the political philosophy underpinning the policy. Trade unions, banks, brokerages, as well as political parties all have economists as well qualified as George. The best place for George is behind a microphone- dont mistake that talent for political talent.

Richard Bruton is still there and holding his counsel. The one shining light of the current government has been the finance minister Mr Lenehan. It is however likely that Mr Bruton will be minister for finance in the next government.
The old dog for the hard road.

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