Canine Bookshelf

For years the media have referred to August as the Silly Season. They probably did so even when the term meant country ballads and chap books rather than News 24 and tweets on Twitter. There was always less political news around, when Parliament was off on its hols, so what was left was considered trivial and fatuous. Hence the term. And in our day and age, it’s not just politics, even the football becomes scarcer over the summer. Thus Allowing all those other sports their brief moments of glory; which seems to be all those where Scots actually perform tolerably well.

Personally, I find it so refreshing to hear all sorts of news which never surfaces at all once Westminster, Edinburgh and the Fitba return to their usual dominance. For a few, brief weeks, we hear about unusual archaeological discoveries on remote, northern isles; attention seeking bampots enthuse about breaking ridiculous records, having inhabited or consumed disgusting substances; and the results of research projects achieve national acknowledgement, the obscurely academic, the proving of the Blooming Obvious, and, occasionally, the highly entertaining.

One in particular has caught my attention, because it concerned dogs. research has now proved that the most intelligent breeds of dogs are at least as bright as a three year old human. Not only that, this research has identified and categorised breeds into order of intelligence. I’ve no wish to incur the wrath of the owners of specific breeds so I’m not giving the complete list. Anyway, they say dogs come to resemble their owners and I don’t know whether this was factored into the research.

Now, by the time I was three, I could read; don’t know about writing, but reading had already become a favourite pastime. Mind you, there were unusual circumstances behind this, which would take too long to explain but if I’d mastered this skill when only three, what about the higher echelons of the canine world? Especially nowadays, what with such techno whizzes as screen readers, spell checkers etc?

In my mind’s eye, I can visualise the book shelves now; just groaning under the weight of volumes. Agricultural treatises on the care of black face yowes; guides to rambling over the Galloway Hills and Lammermuirs, scribed by Border Collies. Some gory thrillers by a German Shepherd interspersed with academic pieces on the development of modern police dramas on british television. Poodles, most certainly, will write fashion columns and chicklit best sellers. And Labradors and Retrievers? Oh, their speciality would be cuisine. How to make the best use of left overs; all of them, including fag ends squashed into the pavements and unspeakable things found in patches of nettles. And, perhaps, the odd political memoir?

I could continue but these are the breeds which, according to the research, are the true Top Dogs. canine interest might be much less anthropomorphic but I certainly hope that, even now, a committee of Guide Dogs is working on a selection of guide books for major British towns. Available on line, of course, on a web site designed to be screen reader accessible!

Perhaps somewhere on the web, there is even a canine chat room where Guide Dogs compare their owners; their foibles and eccentricities. And would I want to read it? No, there are many occasions where ignorance is bliss!

© Charlotte Bennie 2010