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When I was in university (the first time round), I moved into a house with a bunch of friends. And once we’d arrived and settled in, we looked around and thought, what this place needs is a dog.

Thus, The Mom was comandeered to help us get our new furry friend from the pound downtown, to our house up in the wastelands nearer to uni. Jacobi, who was a chow chow, was also a bit of a delicate flower and vomited a few times during the ride. Not a problem, we thought, everyone can get a bit car sick.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when someone came home to find him feasting on (and now, this might be a bit gross so if you’re eating you might want to stop reading) used condoms. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s hard to find the right words to describe what it’s like to chase a dog around your house and try and pry that sort of thing out of his mouth. Later, when we still hadn’t learned and got a bathroom bin with a good sturdy lid, he took to eating feminine hygiene products as I believe they’re called on American tv. He was all class.

And knew everything about us. Which, when you’re trying to avoid awkward questions from your roommates about who that boy who keeps coming over is, is a bit tricky.

When I lived with The Mom, Poochie knew all my bad habits and I do believe she looked forward to those nights when The Mom would bid us a fond farewell and we would be left to our own devices. Poochie would go right to the cupboard with her biscuits and the popcorn maker and plant herself down to wait for the nightly munch-out. I’m sure our evening excesses would’ve been more obvious to The Mom if I’d been gaining weight too.

The only pet I’ve had of my own, however, wasn’t a dog, but rather a parakeet, Newton. He wandered my apartments freely, until one day I left the country and he was dropped off – with a grand flourish – at The Mom’s. Whereupon he quickly grew accustomed to her habits.

The thing about Newton was that he was sort of like your average, not terribly bright five-year-old. He was pretty much just happy to do whatever, and much more so if whatever involved sleeping or eating. When I arrived home that one year to live, he ratted The Mom out in no time.

She’d often chastise me about my reluctance to have a proper social life, and then carry on bragging about how she was out all the time with various girlfriends, her boyfriend, doing Things and Stuff, whilst I stayed in and grumbled.

But once I got home and Newton promptly flew upstairs – of his own accord – after dinner, I deduced that actually The Mom was pretty much living the same life as me, just significantly less vocal and proud about it. Newton would stand at the foot of the bed and if she didn’t appear promptly, he’d start calling for her. And he wouldn’t stop until she’d assumed her usual position in the bed and put the telly on for him.

The Mom’s secret was out.

Pets, of course, aren’t the only animals charged with spying: