2018-10-10 / Editorials

Who’s smarter?

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

“Good morning, Milly. Did you see the story in the New York Times about dogs this morning?”

“You know I don’t read the failing New York Times.”

“What?!? Where do you get this stuff? The New York Times is doing just fine, thank you. Are you watching Fox News again while I’m slaving away at work?”

“Of course not. I don’t even know how to operate the remote. You know, you could leave the TV on for me when you leave. Animal Planet, please.”

“I’m not leaving the TV on for you. If you want to be entertained, just sit at the window and watch the geese. Anyway, since you didn’t see the story, let me tell you about it. A scientist at the University of Chicago has done research, which has shown that people who talk to their dogs are very smart and very creative.”

“Oh, really? I bet that professor has a dog and he’s just making up research to make him look less silly for carrying on a conversation with his dog.”

“Why do you say something like that?”

“Because, Bald- Headed Guy, everyone knows that dogs are smarter that humans.”

“And exactly how to you figure that?”

“Well, it’s pretty simple, really. After only being with you a couple of days, I weaseled my way into sleeping in your bed at night. About six o’clock every night, I must bark to remind you to feed me. I must bark to remind you to take me outside. And, oh, while we’re outside, just who is the one picking up the indiscretions left on the ground?”

“None of that makes you smarter than me. It just shows how much I love you and want to care for you.”

“None of that makes you a rocket scientist, either.”

“Well, Milly, before you get too full of yourself, maybe I should tell you about another study I heard about today. A psychologist at the University of Exeter in Britain has studied canine intelligence and he had found that dogs are no smarter than horses or chimpanzees – or even cats.”

“CATS?!? What has a cat ever done that was intelligent? Snooty little vermin. They ought to be chased right off the planet.”

“Oh, come on. Cats aren’t that bad.”

“Ever gotten one to chase a tennis ball? What about all those long walks you like to go on? I think they’re fun. But you ain’t getting a cat on a leash, silly boy.”

“Still, the story was very persuasive. The research shows that said dogs cannot use tools, unlike dolphins and chimpanzees, which have been observed using sticks to fish for termites. Homing pigeons are trained to fly home, sometimes crossing hundreds of miles of unfamiliar terrain.”

“So now you’re suggesting that I’m dumber than a pigeon?”

“Well, no. But if I need something to get a thousand miles, I’d trust a homing pigeon over a springer spaniel.”

“Whatever, dude.”

“How about we call a truce? Let’s just admit that we are both pretty smart, but that there are people and dogs smarter than us.”

“Fine by me. I wasn’t the one who started the whole ‘dogs are dumb’ conversation.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Apology accepted. Now go to the kitchen and make me some breakfast.”

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN.com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch.clarke@gmail.com. Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/blog/mitch.

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