My goodness, if you don't own a dog, you might have been a bit overwhelmed by all the dog TV currently on air.
On Tuesday night, there were three separate dog programmes on terrestrial TV, which must be a first?
Kicking off proceedings was the BBC's new programme, The Underdog Show (https://www.bbc.co.uk/underdogshow/),which had two parts.
I think the intention behind this show is fantastic; it's showcasing rescue dogs from Dogs Trust and pairing them up with celebrities. Here's what the BBC says about it:
"Anton du Beke, Clive Anderson, Huey Morgan, Julia Sawalha, Kirsty Gallacher, Mishal Husain, Selina Scott and Theo Paphitis will set about mastering a series of highly-charged obedience and agility tests, with the added burden of a weekly elimination thrown in to up the ante. Viewers' votes count for 50 per cent of the overall result, revealed in a tense and unpredictable 30 minute live follow-up show later in the evening."
"As the pressure piles on and eliminations loom, which of our celebrities' underdogs will be transformed into the nation's wonder dog?"
The thing is, I'm not sure how I feel about this and I don't want to be churlish! Sometimes rescue dogs get a bad name (but hey, I am rescue so we're not ALL bad!) but this is thoroughly undeserved. And I am guessing that this is exactly what the programme makers wanted to show.
But agility, doggy dancing and obedience - in a ring? I'm just not convinced. Yes, this is a great way to show rescue dogs (history unknown or maybe tragic circumstances) but just imagine, they build up a relationship with the celebrity (if they don't get eliminated) and the trainer and then...get put up for adoption. Hmmm. Isn't that going to confuse them? Or maybe it won't and they'll love being in the show ring.
The good thing is, as far as I can see, is that the majority of celebrities are dog owners and those that weren't, were soon to see just how fabulous dogs can be.
All the dogs are far too gorgeous to single out but Julia Sawalha's chosen canine, a staffie called Cookie, reminded me of one of the Mistress' friend's dogs. She was also a staffie (maybe with something extra!) and had been found wandering on a major road in Birmingham. She was also from the Dogs Trust! She had a fantastic life but was not fan of other dogs so we didn't hit it off. The thing is, I reckon if Cookie comes up for adoption, I think the Mistress's friend may well reconsider (sadly, their staffie went to the big kennel in the sky almost two years ago).
So I wish The Underdog Show every success and I hope it does a lot of good for rescue dogs. Theo Paphitis who was eliminated, with his dog Claudia, surprised everyone by choosing to keep her, so Claudia won't have to be rehomed to someone she doesn't know!
My only beef with this programme is that the money raised (you call a number to vote!) goes to Children in Need. Now I think Children In Need is a great charity but why have a programme about rescue dogs - from a charity that receives no government funding (like most animal charities) - and then give the money to a different cause? Maybe Dogs Trust felt that the publicity was worth it but what about the other rescue charities?
And then, after the update of The Underdog (so doggy programme number two of the evening), came Half the Dog is Mine from One Life.
This was a surreal programme showing the effects on pets as their owners' relationships break down and a custody battle begins.
Half the Dog is Mine focused mainly on two former Big Brother "stars", Alex and Melanie who got together, in spite of appearing in different years. They got a rescue staffie (Staffordshire Bull Terrier) from Battersea and everything went swimmingly until they split up and...they ended up in court. In the end, Alex won (the dog had been living with Melanie) and Melanie Hill was forced to accept joint custody of the dog and pay Alex's court costs (approx' £25K).
It was heartbreaking to see this dog taken from one home to another via a third party. No wonder their custody-battle victim felt confused and a bit low!
Dogs, like children, deseve better and shouldn't be seen as an opportunity to get back at the ex! But I guess when you're angry, you'll use anything to strike back.
So, a full night of doggy TV but I am not sure I felt any more uplifted for watching it.