De Bilde in the Dog House

There will be some people that think that this is very much a case of a footballer being an idiot. There will be others, though, that think Gilles de Bilde was behaving entirely reasonably and that it was everyone else that was out of order. That is because pets can be an extremely emotive subject, with million of people around the United Kingdom owning a dog. In the case of de Bilde, his dog passed away, causing him to miss a match as a result. For dog owners, his decision to mourn his beloved pet will make complete sense.

The former Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday forward was playing for Belgium’s KVC Willebroek-Meerhof at the time, claiming a ‘family bereavement’ as the reason that he was unable to make it to their match against Geel at the start of the 2006-2007 campaign. The problem was that his team lost the match 1-0, struggling to cause the opposition any problems without their main striker. Whilst he was unlikely to have been a major influence when you consider that he struggled at the Owls and Villains, his team were playing in the Belgian third division at the time.

A Pet Dog Was The Cause Of His Absence

For anyone that has a beloved family pet, the idea of losing one is something that they can barely think about. Pets aren’t just animals, they are part of the family to millions of people up and down the country who have dogs, cats and other animals. When de Bilde’s dog died, many can understand why the forward felt the need to take some time to mourn and will be quite annoyed at the very notion of him being referred to as an ‘idiot’ for not playing a game in the immediate aftermath. Of course, some others will think all of that is just a bit silly.

Where you fall on that scale will likely depend not only on whether you’ve got a pet such as a dog, but also how you treat it. Nowadays, the science is there to show that positive reinforcement is the best way of training a dog, but there are still trainers and owners who will opt for aversive methods instead. If that includes you, you’d probably rub your dog’s nose in its mess, hit it when it’s misbehaving and think that Gilles de Bilde was an idiot for missing his third division match for the club that was paying his wages.

In truth, though, you’re behind the times and most right-minded people will think that de Bilde was quite right to give himself the time to mourn. It is also worth bearing in mind that de Bilde was obviously a modern-minded dog owner, given the fact that he launched a campaign for a European ban on cat and dog fur. When he signed for Sheffield Wednesday, he was accused of smuggling his dogs past customs and said, “Quarantine laws are shit laws because they affect dogs’ health. That’s not a good thing.” Mourning the loss of one, then, was entirely understandable.