A Word In Your Ear with Roy Edmonds - Thursday, April 15, 2021

Will it be a dog’s life for our pets?

Friday, 16th April 2021, 7:00 am
Sir Harold Grime
Sir Harold Grime

Emerging further from lockdown this week, on Boris’s roadplan to recovery, seemed like staggering from dark days of the 1950s or 60s into a modern, swinging world.

Shopping, or drinking, are no longer forbidden for long periods; you don’t have to wander aimlessly in parks or amuse yourself quietly at home. There was something else, too - pets. We’re no longer dependent on them for company.

Lockdown saw a surge in pet ownership, let’s hope we don’t desert them now we’re free to roam.

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I thought of this the other day, as a family cat died. When younger we lived in quiet, suburban avenues, I knew everyone down our road and also their pets. The one of my own I always remember was Topsy, who was given me as a tiny kitten. She followed me everywhere, meowing, even to school.

Sadly though - and unlike She Who Knows, I was never allowed a dog. There’s true devotion for you in a loving dog. Back in the 1970s and even 80s, this newspaper used to carry occasional feature articles on its leader page by editor-in-chief Sir Harold Grime (pictured) – about his pet dogs.

There was one, he recalled, who used to visit him in our town-centre offices. As dogs also roamed free then, it would hop on the tram – then running along Whitegate Drive – and get off down Church Street.

All the conductors knew the devoted creature. Then, after visiting, it would return the same way.

When these nostalgic stories appeared on his desk, our rather cynical features editor of the time (the late, lamented Peter Baxter) used to groan in dismay.

He wanted something more up to date and racy.

But Sir Harold knew his public.

After the article duly appeared, our postbag would be full from appreciative readers – nearly as full as when we published the wrong crossword clues!

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