A dog day afternoon

To mark International Dog Day, here’s an excerpt from my book, Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival, which never won any awards at all.


Let us be clear on one thing. Dogs are animals. They are not meant to be kept as pets. We have all been to the beach or to a park and seen someone throw a ball for a dog. Perhaps you have even done it yourself. You people make me so angry. Why in god’s name are you encouraging your dog to chase balls when it is blindingly obvious to all who care about these things that he should be chasing criminals? Every time your dog runs after a ball, somewhere out there is a criminal not being chased.

And you, you with that fur-covered beach ball. Oh, it’s a Labrador, is it? Shame, give him another piece of cake. Watch him go into cardiac arrest through the sheer effort of wagging his anaconda-like tail. You, madam, are doing your dog and this country a great disservice. Your Labrador should be a lean, mean killing machine. He should be at home patrolling your perimeter fence, fangs a-slaver and barking mightily at anything that moves.

Big dogs are the infantry in our fight against crime. Their position is at the front. If you only have one dog, get another to watch the back. They are the first line of defence against those who wish to take our stuff and our lives.

Little dogs are signallers in this war. They form part of an early warning system and should be scattered about the property. Their job is to alert the big dogs that something might need checking out.

It is also useful to keep a supply of miniature breeds inside your house. If a burglar does gain entrance, one of the more effective methods of slowing him down is to throw them at him. Do not waste your dogs. Use them wisely. If you have done your job properly, your handheld dogs will have been trained to bite on impact. There are very few burglars who feel comfortable robbing you with half a dozen lapdogs hanging from their faces. On the downside, small dogs frequently come with a manufacturer’s defect. Once they start yapping, they frequently forget how to stop. A kick in the ribs usually turns them off.


Alsatians make the best guard dogs. Originally bred as all-purpose working dogs, they have a proud history of keeping darkies out of white areas. They are handsome hounds, even if a bit right-wing, and you will have to watch out for those neighbourhood bitches slipping in for a quickie while your dog is meant to be working.

If you are in the market for an Alsatian, pop into your local police station and see if there are any on special. Try to get a dog from the drug squad. That way, the days of misplacing your stash will be over.

Alsatians have their own governing body called the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde. Being German, the dogs understand what this means but they are often reluctant to talk about it. Perhaps it is like belonging to the Freemasons. Or the Mafia.

Some famous Alsatians are: Hitler’s dog, Blondi; Rex the Wonder Dog and Rin Tin Tin.

Bull terriers would make ideal guard dogs if you could only get them to open their jaws and let go. Nobody wants to pay top dollar for a pedigree dog and then have to cut off its head so the burglar can be thrown into a police car/mortuary van/hole in your backyard.

Whippets are faster than cheetahs in built-up areas. Obviously, out on the plains, the cheetah will whip the whippet’s ass any day. When it comes to protecting your house, the whippet isn’t much good. Nobody is likely to be deterred by the sight of its tiny little head, huge chest and ridiculously long legs. That its tail is permanently wedged between its legs is also less than intimidating.

A whippet will only care about whether the strange man climbing over your wall has any food in his pockets. Look at him in a friendly fashion and he will grin gratefully, roll over onto his back and open his legs. If I ever get a chance to dabble in genetics, I am going to cross a whippet with a woman.

Your whippet comes into his own when the burglar tries to flee. To see some real sport, tie something soft and furry (a pair of bunny slippers would work) to the burglar’s ankles and give him a 30-second head start.

Dachshunds are a bit of a gamble insofar as security is concerned. If the burglar does not incapacitate himself with laughter, you might want to have a backup plan.

Zulu hunting dogs only work if the intruder is a Zulu.


There’s plenty more where this came from. So why not just buy the damn book for the stupid price of R50. This is why I’ll never be rich. Go here:

Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival

3 thoughts on “A dog day afternoon

  1. margie laurence says:

    Thank you for sharing this vital information, Mr Trovato.
    Very useful in retrospect having recently had my arm attacked by a small and angry mutt. You may notice me on the Boulevard of Broken femurs, wearing my new bee-keeper’s suit which I’m told keeps the B…….s from biting.
    Keep on with your mighty work. I have a small library of them. 🙂

  2. Simply the best our Master of Satire. Your thoughts on spaniels, retrievers and yorkies would also be interesting. What about Weimeraners and boxers? Warm regards from the wintry city of Cape Town

  3. Alan Paterson says:

    Lovely piece, lots of good advice. But don’t dismiss the dachshund. You would know the saying beginning “when a tree falls in a forest…” well if that happens a dachsie somewhere will bark. Incessantly. Even if a leaf falls! And they will go for the throat of the intruder, starting from the toes and working up. If a backup dog is required, suggest a Belgian Malinois . Great attack dogs and trackers and useful for those who have rhino grazing in their garden. A plus is that you don’t have to drink alone, they also enjoy Stella Artois.

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