I have always considered myself a lover of animals. I feel qualms of conscience when I eat a lamb roast, but not because I have been directly involved in the actual deed of it’s bloody demise, but because I deliberatly dull my conscience to distance myself from the ethics of eating animals. I actually like animals. I like pigs, but I love bacon. I saw a tee shirt lately which read “I love animals, they taste great”. Now I love a chilli chickpea pattie and I don’t mind a lentil burger, but sometimes meat is just what you need. Now I will veer sideways onto dogs.

I like dogs, except for their obsession with barking coupled with the often trance like oblivian of their owners who cannot hear the deep, gutteral roar of their dog, or if the pooch is small, it’s shreiking, nerve rending crescendo of stacato barks which shiver down my spine and lodge in my brain making me feel frayed and fragile. I love it when the owners say “he doesn’t bark” even as the beast is showing me his tonsils as he belts out a jazz inspired rendition of the ‘woof woof’ song. I think they (the owners) have a self imposed convenient type of temporary deafness. I like cats because they are silent. Even as I write this on this sunny verandah, the silence is shattered by the annoying barking of the dog next door. If dogs could have their bark removed and wore nappies then perhaps they would be of some use.

I am allergic to noise. I know I am. I need to choose the noise I listen too. I don’t like imposed noise. Roaring motor bikes, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, screaming children and country and western music. We live in a world where noise can assault and frazzle the calmest of souls. But lets get back to the rooster. I am house sitting a small dog in Bellingen and the owner threw in a few chooks as well. I like chooks and find their clucking quite restful. However, one of the chooks looked bigger then the other, it had a bushier feather tail. He had an arrogant gleam in his beady eye. I realised it was a bloke chook, aka a rooster. I managed to lure them into their cage for the night, realising that there were six of them lunging at the food bowl. The instructions told me there were five. Never mind, must be a friend coming for a sleep over. Hope they don’t mind sharing their toothbrushes.

This morning as I lay in the land of deep slumber, catching up from a busy week and enjoying the bliss of the countryside quiet, I heard a cockadoodledoo sound outside my window. Pilllow over my head, I tried to sleep, but no, the wretch would not give up. He went on and on at intervals until I felt like a jangled wreck and wobbled out to meet the dawn.

I thought about roosters. Like some men, they have a limited use. They are needed to fertilise the eggs so small fluffy chickens can be born. But, I thought nastily, what use are they the rest of the time? Centuries ago our ancestors who rose at dawn to till the soil used them as alarm clocks. I have an alarm clock thank you very much. So, I open up the debate. Apart from one occasional use, what use is a rooster? Sure he looks really handsome with his glossy black feathers and smart red combe. He struts like a Rugby player out to ‘pull’ on a Saturday night. But dig deeper, and not much seems to happen in his small pea sized brain. But, alas it is not up to me to upset the balance of nature or to discuss the ramifications of post feminisim with a bunch of chooks, so I did the next best thing. After wandering down the street for a coffee to jolt me awake, I bought some ear plugs. Looking forward to a sleep in tomorrow. I hope.