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Keith Austin: When the world is your lobster Stories from a former Travel Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Pet hates....

FRANCE | Friday, 10 April 2009 | Views [1169] | Comments [1]

So here we are, on a fast train out of Paris’s Gare de Lyon, and the fun has already started. The blonde woman across the aisle has a little Yorkshire terrier in her handbag. Next to that, in a sort of pseudo sports bag with mesh sides, she has a fluffy white cat. It is 9.05am and the woman is eating a baguette and drinking a can of Heineken.

We are heading for Clermont-Ferrand in southern France for a few days to visit Popsi Bubblehead’s sister. The Bubletetes live in the Lozere region which, as far as I can tell, is a hideously overlooked part of France. When we there a few years ago, in July, it was almost empty of tourists and yet is a most beautiful, wild and wonderful area.

The cat next to us is mostly silent, looking forlornly out of a bag just big enough for it to turn around in. The dog, however, emits the occasional yelp at some ghost or other that only it can see.

Ah, that’s sweet; the dog is now slobbering over one of those never-ending chews. It might stop it barking but God help whoever gets that seat next.

Which brings me back to a pet hate; er, pets hate. In Venice we watched in astonishment as little old ladies in REAL FUR paraded around with dogs wearing coats. One pedigree pooch – and they’re rarely mongrels – even sported a leather bomber jacket and ski boots. OK, I’m lying about the boots.

In Paris recently, behind the Hotel de Ville BHV, we mooched around a shop for dogs where one little chap was being tried out for a pink  halter. There were collars that cost more than everything I was wearing (yes, yes, not difficult, I know) and little pink doggie baby-grows with hoods.

Men stroll the streets carrying their little doggies in coats, women stick them in their bags with their cute little heads looking out in confusion, and I want to scream in their owners’ faces: “THEY’RE ANIMALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PUT THEM THE FUCK DOWN!!!!!”

Oops, and talking of bags, the cat’s out of the bag. Quite literally; it’s now stretched out on the seat alongside the dog. It’s quite charming in a way but Popsi isn’t terribly impressed.

Let’s be honest, it could be worse – the woman could have kids.

PS. I don’t believe it; another woman has just staggered along the aisle with a tabby under one arm. Talk about the Pony Express.

Tags: clermont-ferrand, hotel de ville, lozere, paris, pets, venice



Classic!brilliant,and slightly alarming...

  nikki oneill Apr 11, 2009 4:19 AM

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