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Britain, a nation of dog lovers? Look at all the spoilt or abandoned pups, then tell me what you think | Elle Hunt

Whether bought for Christmas or the haze of lockdown, too many are either hopelessly anthropomorphised or neglected

In the nicest possible way, Britons have always been a bit silly about animals. “Keeping pets, for the English, is not so much a leisure activity as it is an entire way of life,” wrote the anthropologist Kate Fox in Watching the English, nearly 20 years ago. Our dogs, in particular, have been an acceptable outlet for emotions and impulses we otherwise keep strictly controlled – our latent desire to be demonstratively affectionate, to be silly and chat to strangers. If this seems like an exaggeration, consider the different reactions you’d get if you struck up a conversation with someone in a park with a dog, versus someone on the train.

Indeed, British society has been set up to accommodate these four-legged ambassadors. In the UK – unlike Australia, say, or New Zealand – dogs are not just permitted on public transport but often openly encouraged. Many pubs and shops display waggish signs, reading, “Dogs welcome, people tolerated”, and have treat jars on their counters. The other day, as I was waiting outside a cafe with a friend’s dog, the barista urged me to bring her inside.

Elle Hunt is a freelance journalist

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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