9th January


How is it that dogs understand instinctively that the best way to alleviate their stomach disorders is to eat grass? It’s not as if their mothers can have taught them this. Most dogs are taken from their mothers when they’re barely off milk. Yet in later years, afflicted by constipation or just a bit bilious, they start tearing at the long green stuff. They know. How come?

Perhaps a kind of canine folk medicine is in play, passed from generation to generation when older dogs meet young ones in the woods or in the park or on the street.

One dog to another, sniffing its arse: ‘You’re smelling a bit bland, son. Bunged up, are you? What you need’s a good clump of grass.’

Other dog: ‘Grass? What? You’re having me on!’

‘No, I’m serious. I know, it sounds weird, and none of us wants to be mistaken for a cow let alone a sheep, but grass is the thing, believe me.’

‘Not for me! I like my meat – fresh off the bone, or straight from the tin at least.’

‘We all do, but you can overdo it. No roughage, son, that’s your problem.’

‘Well, since you mention it, I am pretty tight.’

‘You’re like a drum. It’s hard work too, having to do your business in two minutes when you’re in that condition. Stressful. And they always bloody watch you. Anyway, give the old grass a go, that’s my tip.’

‘Right, I will.’

‘Mind you, don’t overdo it, and don’t look like you’re enjoying it. Sends out the wrong message entirely. I hear some poor sods are getting fed noth- ing but a kind of dry vegetarian biscuit mix, day in, day out.’

‘It’s a bloody sin, imposing that on a dog.’

‘Then of course they go crazy at the first opportunity, hoovering up road- kill, a rotten seal on the beach, anything with some flavour. But their systems can’t handle it. Back it comes, all over the best carpet. Then they get a leathering.’

‘There’s no justice, is there?’

‘None. Well, can’t stand around sniffing your arse all day. You take my advice and eat some grass. This time tomorrow you’ll be feeling brand new.’

Reader: Kirstin McLean
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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