It's almost going-home time at DIVA HQ, and over the usual
chatter and clatter of our open-plan office I can hear the raucous
snores of Toby, who is nestled cosily under my colleague Darren's
desk. Toby, in case you wondered, is a pug. An animated black
velvet gargoyle with a tightly curled tail and huge round brown
eyes. He has transformed office life since Darren adopted him from
the Dog's Trust and started bringing him to work. Mornings are
punctuated by his snuffly perambulations around the desks, claws
clicking on the laminate flooring. Afternoons are enlivened by his
tour of the bins… just in case anyone ditched their lunch. Everyone
stops for a chat with Toby. He's a busy, busy pug. It's not
surprising he's out for the count.
A new exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol
celebrates the huge impact that pets have on our lives. Reigning
Cats and Dogs: The Art of the Domestic Pet puts our companion
animals in the picture - from the fluffy to the frightening, in
representations that range from the satirical to the sentimental.
Via mediums including photography, oil-painting, sculpture and
woodcuts, artists illustrate our close relationships with dogs and
cats, the creatures that live in our homes, hogging our sofas,
making us laugh with their antics, guarding us from intruders, from
loneliness, from being alone with ourselves.
My cat is not exactly my constant companion. She never misses a
trip out to the bins but will happily snooze in another room while
I watch TV on my own. Still, there is huge comfort in knowing she's
there, lounging on one of her several designated beds, and I know
that after the radiators go cold she'll arrive, with a soft whump,
on mine. What am I to her? A cat-biscuit-dispensing
hot-water-bottle, I suspect.
To read the rest of this feature and check out photos of
readers' pets, buy a copy of DIVA's January 2013
Buy it here!