Parents everywhere were delighted today by the news that veterinarians have at last developed a form of the ever-popular Christmas gift, the dog, that won’t linger on into the New Year and beyond the festive period. The new ‘Live Fast, Die Young’ breed ages at the rate of seven dog years to one hour, so shoppers can rest assured that by the twelfth hour of Christmas their true love will be left with nothing more than fond memories and a freshly-dug mound of earth in the garden, or their money back.
‘Puppies are so cute, aren‘t they?’ said animal-lover Rolf Harris today. ‘But those last 14 years or so can really drag and there would be very less that you can do to help your dog relax. The beauty of these creatures is you get the whole roller-coaster of emotions in a day. Just pop a handful of Winalot Prime into the box on Christmas morning, give it a good shake and wait for the ‘Ahhhs!’ as the adorable little fella emerges weak-legged and vulnerable to mess on your novelty Christmas socks. Can you smell what it is yet?’
It’s been no easy feat for scientists to reconcile the conflicting human impulses to commemorate the birth of the Son of God by making a gift of a living creature needing accommodation, food and regular exercise, and to get on the blower to the rescue centre as soon as the bank holiday is over. In one trial problems with a Chihuahua’s body clock caused it to explode unexpectedly during the Queen’s speech and curtail Grandma’s post-lunch snooze with a fatal heart attack. And the Communication Workers’ Union has already lodged an official complaint after a number of pre-packed pets prematurely came to life in transit in what the union has called ‘the opening of a new front in the canine’s War on Postmen’.
But the ‘Man’s Guest Friend’ (TM) has already brought literally hours of pet-owning thrills to countless grateful families. ‘There was fun in the morning as the puppy helped with the unwrapping, relief after lunch as the adult dog finished the leftover turkey, and boredom and indifference by late afternoon,’ said one father. ‘We even squeezed in a festive constitutional, but it was great not having to make that extra night-time walk to the canal with a sack.’
‘We just buried the dog’s bone in the garden and, bless him, he dug his own grave as he retrieved his last supper. All that was left was for the children to learn some important lessons about attachment, mortality and really thinking about what you wish for, before we gave him his final instructions to ‘sit’ by the graveside, ‘lie down’ and then finally, ‘roll-over’.’