Animalising the HTCU

Posted on June 23, 2011

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And what woof-beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Monkeytown to be born?
(with apologies to W.B. Yeats)

The Monkey family acquired a dog this week. He’s a lovely little fella, black-and-white and with a colourful ethnic mix of basset, border collie, staffie and a few others. He came with a name, and at 2 years old it seems a bit late in the day to change it – my vote would have been for ‘Chomsky’ though.

While he’s been gazing soulfully into my big brown eyes today, I got to thinking that it’d be a good thing to have more pets in the workplace. Naturally, me being me, I took this idea and ran with it, turning it into a ridiculously far-fetched basis for a rambling blog post. Laydeezangennelmen, I would like to present to you my ideas for bringing more beasties into the HTCU.

One natural application for dogs at work is their calming effect on people. It’s a scientifically documented fact – or as good as – that having a dog to snuggle and talk to is very therapeutically valuable, and can help relieve stress <waves a hand vaguely at Google Scholar for references>.

I don’t know what happens in other parts of the world, but in the UK most HTCUs have a counsellor visit them a few times a year because of all the nasty crap that we have to look at. With the current financial implosion that we’re seeing in Monkeytown this appears to be a bit too pricey now, so we’ve had to release the counsellor that we’ve all got to know and trust over the last decade, and from now on we’ll be baring our souls to some random from Occupational Health, who we’re assured will not be posting ‘HTCU nutter quotes of the month’ on the canteen noticeboard. None of us are very happy about this, but it could be worse – I’ve started heard a rumour that one plan is for us to have mandatory treatment based on a 1960s study into treating psychopaths where they strip us naked, dose us with LSD and throw us all in a portakabin for a few days. Or something similar, I’m hazy on the details.

Personally, I’m going for the dog route rather than the naked-LSD therapy. We could do a bring-a-dog-to-work day for those who have woofers, and those who haven’t could borrow one from the force doggy section. The dogs could be encouraged to lollop around the offices all day, getting tummy tickles and therapeutic licks from staff who need to de-stress.

In fact while they’re in there, they could be taught to do basic triaging as well – the average police dog has had a hell of a lot more relevant training than anyone who’s joined our unit in the last couple of years. I’m going to contact the mighty Harry Parsonage right now to ask if ADF Triage can be produced in a dog-friendly package that throws out tasty treats when a positive is found.

You dirty old man!

Why stop at dogs? I hear that some of the forces with mounted sections are having to close them down or redeploy the horses as Level  1 UCs, which seems a bit of a waste. I suggest that the HTCU could take them over, and get a few carts from somewhere. There’s no chance of us getting a vehicle of our own anytime soon, so this would do nicely – we could turn up for search warrants on our horse and cart, and have plenty of room for exhibits. It would also do wonders for maintaining the grooming standard in the unit, as the horses could nibble on our hair while we worked. Do horses eat hair? It’s the sort of thing they would do.

Oh, and we could all wear jodhpurs and big boots.

Continuing the theme, we could invest in monkeys to do a lot of the tedious work for us – image categorisation for example (come to think of it actually, it might be a bit cruel to expect an intelligent animal to do this all day. Maybe we could rig up some species of bivalve to hit the C4P buttons). Naturally we’d have to install a load of ropes and hanging tyres into the office but we’d be able to play on them too, so we’d also be helping our general fitness. The larger primates – I’m thinking orang utans – could be dressed in suits to attend court on our behalf. Seeing as only 0.02% of court warnings end up in us actually being needed, it’d be a good way of avoiding wasted time and they’d be good listeners for the barristers to show off their sparkling wit to.

Fishtanks! Hell yeah! Great big ones with beautiful tropical fish in, and maybe a marine tank for some cephalopods (what is it with geeks and cephalopods, by the way? I don’t know why, but I feel myself strangely drawn to them too). As well as the calming effect they’d have on the office – imagine the office lit by blue lights on equipment and the lovely glow from the fishtanks – they’d also be handy for waterboarding anyone suspected of bringing digestives into the office.

OK, I’ve wibbled on enough and I’m sure my loyal readers have got plenty of suggestions to put mine to shame. Comment me up, daddyos!