Uses for a Dead Maltese Poodle?

Population explosion of small dogs

Who let the dogs out? The Maltese Poodle

The proliferation of housing estates in South Africa and the general trend towards smaller houses has, inevitably, lead to a population explosion of small dogs – especially Maltese terriers.

maltese poodle

I remember my former colleague, Jennifer Crwys-Williams, coming out with a book: “R.I.P Fifi – 51 1/2 Uses For a Mostly Dead Maltese Poodle”.

In my heart of hearts, I concur with her view that Maltese are not terribly useful dogs and (secretly) I admire her for having found “51.5” uses for them.

In my suburban stockade there are swarms of them; they scuttle about like hand-knitted woodlice, and their owners brook no criticism. I had one myself but only because I was forced to look after it by family members bigger and stronger than me.

But I can reveal (as we old journos like to say) that, at the time, Maltese owners were plotting against Jenny and planned a protest group – The Maltese Owners Brigade (MOB).

I cannot recall one of Jenny’s suggestions (I wasn’t allowed to read the book) but, obviously, there must be some uses for Maltese – apart from yapping. Plumbers, for instance, could use them for pulling through blocked drainpipes.  And, a pair of them (as I think Jenny might have suggested), after death, can be made into a pair of warm bedroom slippers.

Every other breed seems to have its uses. Rottweilers are working dogs. Having said that, I had a Rotty once and, as I recall, it never did a day’s work in its life. He was so dumb if you put your ear next to his head you could hear the ocean.

Retrievers are hunting dogs. Bouvier des Flandres are used as army dogs, at least in Belgium. This might explain why Belgium surrendered the day the Germans crossed its border in World War 2.

But Maltese?

Some time back, jittery about burglaries, people were taking them to the SPCA in the hope of swapping them for something bigger and toothier.

I tried it myself. We had an old Maltese called White Fang (it had also been foisted upon me). It was a noisome, scruffy, bad-tempered dog and it looked the same at both ends. Visitors used to mistake it for something to wipe their feet on and I caught the gardener polishing the car with it. (“Don’t let the missus catch you,” I warned.)

I took it to the SPCA and said to the young lady there, “I’ll swop White Fang here for that black Alsatian over there – the one with the teeth.”

“How can you be so heartless?” she said, cradling White Fang and trying to tickle it under its chin.

I said: “That’s not its chin you are tickling; its chin is at the other end, under its mouth. And you’ll find its mouth has just as many teeth as the end you are tickling.”

Slightly flustered, she parted the hair at the other end to reveal two eyes crossed in ecstasy.

She persuaded me to take the Maltese home but to buy the Rottweiler as well – as back-up. Rottweilers normally save you having to buy a bazooka but this Rotty was terrified of everything, including White Fang.

At least I could tell which end to shove the Doggy Chunks in.

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