French POO-dles - or, it=s a wonder the French have dogs.

What with the French hand-over-the-heart loyalty to Liberte, Equalite et Fraternite, you would think that they would consider domestic animals in somewhat the same light.

Bear in mind that the majority of French people live in built up areas, large towns and cities, in small apartments or houses with very little if any garden space and there=s no wonder that one sees many dogs on the streets with their owners. Unfortunately this is where the issues rises to view.

On streets, in parks, gardens and restaurants, one sees harried owners wrestling with dogs of all sizes which have been let out of their cramped domestic quarters for one of their daily constitutionals. Of course the canine friend wants to explore, run, sniff trees and urinate on most of them and of course leave larger deposits as soon as possible, wherever he or she is. This is about the only time that the owner is not seen dragging the poor beast by a high tech extending, spring loaded and automatically retracting leash. Wherever and whenever the dog is that wants to do his or her business, that=s where it does it and that=s where it stays.

There is no law in most places requiring owners to not allow the act in the first place or to clean it up in the second so the majority of French street, parks and gardens smell awfully like a pet lavatory.

They arrive at restaurants, and herein lies another apparent paradox. With the legend French respect for food and it=s environment, how is it that they can countenance having animals in close proximity in fashionable and crowded eating places. Perhaps the owners have grown so used to living in intimate collusion with their hairy friends they see no issue, but what of the others ? Do they all have mothers or sisters or wives or lovers who need to be constantly accompanied by Fido or Fidorette - since it seems that only women use the dog as an accessory.

Dogs of all sizes and types from massive shepherds to diminutive poodles, deprived of any kind of >liberte= being dragged in the direction and at the speed of the owner without respect of any >equalite= of the pet for time to explore, run, sniff and mark territory, with as little >fraternite= shown as to a erring shopping trolley.

It=s a wonder the French have dogs.