I’m always criticising people, so this week I thought I’d criticise animals instead. Specifically those of a canine ilk.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like dogs. As a concept. I just draw the line when people say a dog’s your best friend. I would never treat my best friend the way a dog treats its owner. Like I’m walking along the road with me best mate – nicely, nicely – then pull down me pants: ‘Hang on a minute, just having a crap… It’s stuck to the tufts round me anus, can you gimme a hand?… Where ya goin? Scoop it up. That’s a thousand Euro fine and I’m buggered if I’m paying it.’ If that for you is a friend, you’re clearly on Facebook.

Mind you, the doggie-poo prob’s easy to clear up (tee hee). Bit of pooper-scoopering and we’re all happy. Far worse is another prob, and it’s getting worse and worse and no one cares…

Noise pollution.

Like, for three years I’d get woken up by some dog the size of a blue whale stuck on some balcony the size of a bluebottle. Bark bark barkbarkbark… I’d awake with a jerk, like Berlusconi’s lover (or Berlusconi himself when she ain’t there). Lie in bed listening to this dogawful racket. Then try to study. Then go slowly and inexorably round the proverbial bend.

There are three things you can do in this situation (four if you’re the proud owner of a sawn-off shotgun):

a) Tolerate it. And end up spending your hard-earned Euros on a psychiatrist, a rest cure and cocaine.

b) Report it to the police. Only in Italy they won’t get off their jacksie if you’re getting said firearm rammed up your own, I hardly think they’ll lose any sleep over Rover’s row. (Incidentally, I’d like to know anyone who’s actually called a dog Rover… No I wouldn’t.) Classic example of Italian police: I reported the loss of my passport, first question: ‘Do you have ID, say a passport?’

c) Complain to the owner. Only if you’re the kinda toe-rag who treats his best friend like that, you make the police look like Bagpuss. Believe me, I’m a fan of the show.

So in the end, with typical Italian logic, you’re the one causing a fuss. It’s the same on the train: Ipods blaring out Lady Gaga, who isn’t sexy, she’s just scary. Or Sunday afternoon: underage drinkers who think if a joke’s worth telling once, it’s worth telling six billion times as the guffaws and the slurps and the beer bottles echo round the estate. Or the rush hour (in Rome, eight a.m. to eight a.m.): cars with horns like wildebeeste on acid like you could actually do anything to help in the first place.

It’s a question of respect. And worst of all, Italians do know the meaning of the word. As a concept.