One of my strange recollections from Kurrajong Special School in East Malvern was a boy telling me that Pal was human food. I can never forget how hard I laughed when I was told that because there was an easily visible PET FOOD ONLY label on this.
Ever since, I have always looked for these PET FOOD ONLY labels on the pet food I see in supermarkets. Since I do most of my mother's shopping even at thirty-one, this is quite often.
Today is my first day staying with my eldest half-sister in Sunshine - actually, in a place I have never seen before, and it is cluttered in a manner that would shock even my brother or people who have looked inside the garage of my house. There is a certain charm to the place, especially with the old books, that comes to me through having been born of a father who was old enough to have been in World War II and today frequenting secondhand bookshops for things like the three-volume compilation of Rachel Carson's Under The Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us, and Edge of the Sea.
Since this half-sister has always had a great affinity for dogs, I asked her if she knew about the PET FOOD ONLY labels. I have since my father died been in much more contact with my half-sisters, but it was really surprising that even someone with a love of dogs would know the story of the origin of PET FOOD ONLY labels.
What she told me was that PET FOOD ONLY labelling originated from a popular restaurateur in Sydney who made extremely tasty sandwiches. When his customers asked him why they were so tasty, the restaurateur refused to tell. Eventually the police arrested him and the restaurateur said that he had used dog food in his sandwiches. Since there was already suspicion I assume of human problems caused by the eating of pet food, the government decided that pet food had to be labelled with PET FOOD ONLY. yet, as my story from 1988 shows, people do ignore these labels even if only as a joke.