It was only natural, having a dog as thoughtful as Alfie, that sooner or later his mind would turn to politics. There are but a few steps from the realisation that he was still expected to go outside to pee, even when it was raining, to starting to campaign for inside toilets for dogs. Once he had got to that point, it was inevitable that his thoughts would turn to matters of the subjugation of dogs, the lack of rights and income for working dogs and of course the knotty issues of health and education.
However, being a dog of extreme inactivity, it did come as a surprise to me when he stated his intent to set up a political party to campaign for the rights of dogs. He spent a long time coming up with the name. The thought process was so taxing that he found himself having to take many naps along the way before he finally came up with the PDDP, which he then searched the internet to find stood for a number of other things including the Participatory District Development Programme in Nepal. This did not deter him, however he had more problem in deciding when and if it should have an apostrophe in the title. Was it the Democratic Party of the Pet Dog – singular and therefore should have the apostrophe before the ‘s’, or the Democratic Party of Pet Dogs and therefore it should go afterwards. I did point out if he called it the Democratic Party of Pet Dogs he could be the DPPD and do away with the apostrophe altogether! He was not dissuaded from his choice. He did however decide that the apostrophe looked silly on merchandise so dropped it altogether – in his words ‘because he could’.
He has over the years faced a number of difficult constitutional issues, such as whether to admit a cat and a rabbit as members. His conclusion was that as long as they were earnestly supporting the rights of dogs he saw no problem. He overcame the question of whether working dogs were part of the organisation by a heartfelt belief that every working dog should have a hearth to go home to in an evening and be able to claim the title ‘pet’.
He has seriously thought of standing for Parliament and may do so at the next election, if he can raise the money to cover his deposit, which I am refusing to pay! At one point he did offer himself as the manager of the England football team, but that’s a story for another day. For the most part he is content to ponder the issues. Which gnawing on a bone and occasionally coming up with some of his many slogans such as ‘Minimum wage for working dogs’ and ‘Every dog must have his say.’
For him to really drive the campaign forward, he would need to be dissatisfied with his own lot and for the most part his is not. He still grumbles at the ‘third world’ conditions of having to go outside to go to the toilet, but he’s well fed and wants for nothing, so his calls for health provision and pensions seem a little weak. As regards education, I think he’s probably had quite enough already!