- Man under suspicion of shaving swastika on dog – Reuters, 23/11/07.
You don’t have to read this before reading the story, but prepare to be
I refuse to believe a
human as stupid as my owner could find out my secret. I live the
perfect double life, I have the perfect façade
and daily routine. I’ll refuse to fetch a frisbee, or I’ll chew the
legs off the coffee table, and it’ll be obvious – anyone will look at
me and say ‘that’s a standard, run of the mill, slightly deviant
example of caninity’. Well, more accurately they’d say ‘der ist ein
hund’, but that’s besides the point. On the surface, I am a normal dog.
when the humans are all asleep or otherwise distracted,
the howls echo across the rooftops and through the alleys, summoning
the puppies of the revolution. When my
owner is snoring roughly, or having his ears destroyed in some darkly
lit club, I don my little boots, with some difficulty. My peaked cap is
retrieved carefully from its hiding place, its grey felt tickling my
teeth. Silently, I transform into who I really am – the sole leader of
the National Socialist
German Canines Party.
The balcony doors
are nudged open carefully, and adopting a regal posture I strut out to
my makeshift podium. Below, the crowd start to bay, their dog food
breath rising into the twilight air. Ranks of Golden Labradors and
Alsatians stand proud, their brown uniforms and
clinking badges making them stand out from the rest, maintaining order
in the warlike mass. These dogs are pleading me for permission to start
something, and who am I to refuse them?
of the NSDHP!” The crowd is abruptly silent. “Too long have we been
forced to share our beloved town with godless, socialist felines,
who seek to pervert our wholesome German way of life! We see them, idle
and passive, sapping all they can from their masters and our country,
manipulating and taunting the dog in the street, and lying there, smug,
fat and satisfied with their ill-gotten
By now, the crowd are no longer
nodding and murmuring low agreement to each other, but are once again
roaring passionately, their primitive yelps and barks carrying off into
the cold night. I barely have to make a coherent argument – a mention
of cats, and off they go.
“We are past the
time of sitting back on our haunches, of feebly mimicking our mortal enemies. Now is the time for action!” Another
bestial roar. “In the west end of town, in an abandoned warehouse,
there is a meeting of the Socialist Feline Party going on
tonight. This is our chance to show those scum which of us are the true
heirs to this great country!”
The sound of
clicking paws and mad laughter thunders down the
street, too much a part of the background noise in this
town to alert any humans, but loud and distinctive enough to carry into
the warehouse. The cats inside begin to pay attention, glance at each
other, their ears flickering nervously. The door bursts in, and
suddenly all is chaos. Claws, teeth, canine jaws descend into a
revolving cartoon cloud, legs and fur flying in all directions. After a
suitable interval, there is a reverberating howl, and the dogs scrabble
their way to the exit, leaving a pile of battered kittens in their
The deep-throated cheers fill the
alley. We are riding on a thin cloud of adrenaline and victory,
exultant in our triumph. All these dogs are returning home to
unresponsive masters, to resume their daily rigmarole, but they will
keep this moment in their minds for weeks to come – until the next
The lights are out in my apartment,
just how I left them. I sidle in, scenting the air and cocking my ears
for danger, but the only sounds and smells are those of an idle home. A
wheeze of relief escapes my throat, and suddenly aware of my injuries I
limp to my basket, circle carefully for a
minute, then lie down and drift into happy sleep.
a jolt, I am awake. “Stay still!” There is someone leering over me. I
catch a glint of metal in the late morning sun streaming in
through the blinds, and feel a sharp pain on my side. My master is
shaving something into my fur.
still!” His face is twisted with fury – what is going on? “I know what
you’ve been doing. I’m finding it very hard to believe, but oh, I
My double life is over. Somehow, he knows.
Back up, back up, I think. Who’s going to believe him? We have humans too well trained to even entertain the notion that we can wield political power. But the glint in his eyes suggests the impossible. I scowl. The cats. They’ve got to this one.
suffer in noble silence while this counter-revolutionary finishes
whatever he’s doing. His strong arms lift me up, and somehow I feel
it’s in my best interests not to struggle. We pass into the bathroom,
where I am held up to the mirror. What!? My eyes must be deceiving me. There, standing out clear from my fur, is a giant swastika.
rumours of a neo-Nazi gang around town, the misspellt
graffiti on the alley walls – I thought that was a normal, if
distasteful, part of life in this country, when you consider our past.
But…this! You!” My master’s voice spits venom in my ears, and I’m
finding it hard to stop wincing. “That incident at the warehouse across
town, with all those poor cats, and the paraphernalia in my closet –
either I’m going mad, or…I don’t know. But…you! You’re more than just a
dog. You’re a monster.”
A few hours later, I
am in the arms of some fawning policeman, watching my master duck into
a police car. There is distaste evident on the faces of all humans
present. I look at our neighbours, and they look back at me, their eyes
full of pity. I snarl, and turn back to the police car. My master is
staring coldly at me. His words echo in my head – “I know, oh, I