We are a pet house. Two ancient cats inhabit the top of the boiler or the sofa back, next to the TV. An even more ancient tortoise roams a flower bed, doing… not very much, in return for some grapes and cucumber.
Neither cat is much interested in my lap though they moan enough if we don’t provide food when expected. They’re nice enough, so far as indifferent hair balls go.
And then there’s Dog. He’s a rescue dog, the second we’ve been lucky enough to live with. I could list his attributes, his foibles, the things that irk me and the things that make me putty in his paws. In truth his only irksome characteristic is his inclination – more visceral need – to greet every visitor to a volley of barking that has any delivery person back pedalling from our front door as fast as a Dog rushes towards it. It’s positively Newtonian, this each action has an equal and opposite reaction.
While I could wax lyrical on the subject of Dog specifically, today I want to consider dogs as a species make the case for them being the second most intelligent, intuitive species on this little lump of rock we inhabit.
My posit is that humans, for all their stupidities and senseless behaviours are the most intelligent and intuitive when measured against a range of parameters. You may not agree.
But what about second place?
I have read thesis and seen a number of programmes, making the case that other primates are the runners up. Or dolphins. Or Crows or jackdaws. Or Parrots. Or Elephants. I’ve no doubt there are wackos out there building a case for the meerkat, based on its ability to corner the insurance advertisement market.
Wrong, all wrong, all of you. Well, all of you who don’t have the dog in second place by a margin, at least the length of a street of lamp posts.
Dogs do not have opposable thumbs. They cannot pick things up easily. Their language is relatively simplistic. They don’t clean up after themselves. They have yet to invade Iraq. Or type Shakespeare.
But which species has found its place closest to we humans such that we have rescue centres for them? Even more than cats. That we share our homes with?. Which species do we work the fields and mountains with? Which do we trust with some of the most vulnerable members of our community as sensing dogs (hint: it’s in the label)? Which species have we bred over thousands of years to perform a myriad of roles in support of our dominance of the planet and who still adapt to modern needs, be it forewarning of strokes or epilepsy or sniffing our drugs?
DOGS. None of the above listed.
OK, most of the others are more independently minded. They know better than to snuggle up to us. Ha! Dumb-asses.
Dogs know who’ll fill their bowls, keep them warm, keep them safe, give them medical care and mourn their passing. And clean up after them, as we only really do for our children, the cunning little critters.
So yes, Dog, you might look worried because I’ve sussed your game. I can be hard-nosed, you know. I could stop all this kowtowing, just like that. In an instant. At the snap of my fingers, in the blink of an eye, in a heart beat. Now stop that. Don’t look like that. No, come here. I didn’t mean it. Come on. Come to daddy’s lap….