Dom Joly: I’m spying on my dogs

Lazy black labrador dog lying on a wooden floor with evening sun making his sad eyes shine

Dom Joly is spying on his dogs - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The comedian with wanderlust reports from Cheltenham

I’m spying on my dogs. Is this wrong?  

Allow me to explain.  

About six months ago I got given one of those video doorbells. I loved it immediately. I can now ignore the endless Deliveroo drivers who constantly attempt to give me someone else’s food (genuinely, if I accepted every wrong delivery, I’d be on six meals a day for free). I can check to see whether my kids do walk the dogs, when they promise to do so. I can also scroll back, zoom in and get the licence plate of the Post Office van that smacked into my mirror and drove on without stopping. There are endless benefits to these doorbells and I have greatly enjoyed having one.  

So much so that I succumbed to the constant, hard-sell of said company and purchased another camera.  

This one was supposed to cover the rear of my house and allow me to spot potential burglars as well as how many people my son was trying to secretly slip into his basement man-cave every night. The problem, however, was that once it went dark, the camera didn’t really pick anything up.  

So I started to move the second camera about.  

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For a while, I had it in the kitchen so that, while I was on tour, I could watch my wife cooking but, weirdly, she thought that was really creepy, especially when I used the microphone option to tell her she was doing it wrong.  

Having been banned from spying on my own family, I decided to snoop on my doggies. Often, when I leave the house, I turn around and spot one of them in our sitting room looking out of the first-floor window at me. I always wondered what they actually did when we were out? I’d seen distressing videos online of dogs who got really upset when they were left alone and I wanted to reassure myself that this was not the case with mine. 

So, I set up the camera, on top of the piano, facing the two large sash windows that face out onto the square. Once it was in position, I made a big deal of leaving, saying goodbye to both dogs before exiting out of the front door. I had the camera image on my phone and so I went and sat in the square and waited to see what happened.  

For a couple of minutes there was no action, and then both dogs entered the room. One stood in the window, staring out at the square while the other settled into an armchair with a packet of crisps he had stolen from the kitchen. Both seemed incredibly relaxed and not to be missing me at all, which, I have to admit, was a little annoying. I didn’t want them to be upset, but a little sadness would not have gone amiss.  

As I sat on the bench in the square watching my dogs on my phone, a man sat next to me. He looked over and spoke. 

‘It’s amazing them phones innit’? Who’d have thought, 20 years ago that you could just sit in a park and watch movies on your phone?’ He looked thoughtful. 

‘I’m actually not watching a movie. I’m spying on my dogs. They’re in that building over there and I’m seeing what they do when I leave the house… look, you can see them now.’ I smiled at him and tried to show him the screen.  

But he wasn’t interested. His face dropped and he got up without a word and walked off fast, muttering to himself. 

I really need to get a hobby.