Sniffing stranger’s crotches?
Urinating in public?
Will eat anything off the floor?
Then you're the sort of person we need to teach this talking, educated dog how to behave properly!
Meet the Winstanleys. At first glance, a seemingly ordinary 2.4 children family from Berkshire. But behind closed doors, all is not quite as it seems.
‘It started when he was a puppy,’ says Mike Winstanley, owner of Horris. ‘There was an advert on telly, you know, the Wall’s Sausage ad, and as a joke, I said to Horris ‘Wall’s’ and just came out with it.’
According to the 46-year old, his Miniature Schnauzer, Horris, replied: ‘Wall’s. A brand owned by a conglomerate called Unilever; whose evil capitalist advertisers make my species looks like mouth-watering fools. How dare you!’ Mike added, ‘I don’t know where he gets his politics from, because we buy the Daily Mail.’
Mike and his family were concerned at first, and called in the country’s leading ‘dog whisperer’, Andre X to get to the bottom of this phenomenon and hopefully, cure it. But Horris wasn’t keen. ‘I didn’t like some of the things he whispered to me. He was an eerie sort of chap, and he always stank of sweat and shame – I can tell because of these extra senses I can pick up. I remember once he whispered in my ear, ‘My trick of making dogs ejaculate onto biscuits is coming on a treat.’ That’s not right, is it?’
But Horris wasn’t the only one with doubts about ‘fixing’ his unique ability. ‘I mean, not everyone has a talking dog. Especially one with quite a high intellect. And he’s great with the kids too, you know, helping them with their homework. And he’s got quite a talent too,’ says Mike.
Of a late Sunday afternoon, the pair can be found in Mike’s study, where Horris dictates limericks he has thought up in the week to Mike, who then word processes them and publishes them on his blog. ‘He has a unique talent when it comes to thinking up some witty rhymes; I mean, I’d never think of doing anything like this. It’s all down to Horris.’
Mike’s blog has even attracted the attention of Acme Publishers, who are printing a selection of Horris’s limericks in a book due out next week. ‘I’m very excited,’ says the four year-old canine. ‘I believe I’m the first animal to have actually written a book of poetry.’ Horris finds his influences from popular culture and mainly what he sees on the television. ‘I’ve got a lot of time on my hands during the day. You pick up all sorts, and play with words in your head.’ Some of his best known limericks are to feature in the book, such as ‘This goose in the Outer Hebrides’:
This goose in the Outer Hebrides
Suffers badly with genital herpes
It was such bad luck –
He caught it from a duck!
(No jokes about Bill Oddie, please)
‘That’s one of my favourites,’ recalls Mike. ‘But my all-time favourite has to be the one about the inflatable Pope. As he told me, I cried with laughter for, oh, about a minute or two.’
A man of a nervous disposition,
Decided no longer to be Christian:
He gave up hope
When his inflatable Pope
Went BANG! in the missionary position.
• Horris’s 101 Limericks is published by Acme Publishers.