Hell Is Other People’s Dogs – Michael and Sarah’s, for Instance

Like children, dogs are the litmus test for all your friends’ worst weaknesses.

But just when I thought it was safe to go back into the water, I’ve discovered that it isn’t, actually, because my friends have started to replace their vanishing children with something much, much worse: their stupid bloody annoying dogs.

Like children, dogs are the litmus test for all your friends’ worst weaknesses. You think your friends are normal and sensible, with the same values as you — which is why they’re your friends. But when you see them with their children or their dogs, it cruelly, in some cases almost fatally, exposes the irredeemably vast gulf that exists between their way of doing things and yours.

This happened, I remember, with our once bestest of best friends Bob and Livia (names changed to protect the guilty). Being left-wing bohemians, Bob and Livia didn’t believe in fascistic stuff like bedtimes or indeed regular mealtimes. We very much did. Though today I’m about as laissez-faire a dad as you could ever meet, in the early days I was so strict that the Fawn used to call me Dr Mengele. Probably I’d read in some book that routines are important, so I cleaved to them religiously.

Read the rest at the Spectator.