Saturday, 27 August 2011

Gone surfin'

Bessie gave up all extreme sports due to a paw injury involving a skateboarding incident last year. Regular readers will be glad to hear that, after seeing this video, she has demanded to be taken surfing, or at the least treated to a trip to a skateboarding park.


  1. Great video Sue.
    I had missed the earlier Bessie injury (more power to her little elbows). Do dogs have elbows?
    Lovely, keep em coming.

  2. Bessie should find a more sedate sport for a woman of her age. I am sure she would enjoy bowls or croquet, which are far more in keeping with an Anglican bitch.

  3. You may call it humour, but it could denote more - rather like my comment a few months ago on a dog’s ability to dream – thus it must have a sense of itself as an individual separate from immediate stimulus of the senses – in short it must have a consciousness. This was in your ongoing debate on whether dogs have souls (or perhaps the question should read: ‘Can dogs also be included in the idea borrowed from other Middle-Eastern and Greek civilisations that humans have an everlasting soul – despite the fact there is no mention of this in the Old Testament (excepting in the dodgy book of Daniel 12:2) it somehow (along with the idea of life after death) found its way into some Jewish cults, of which Christianity is a modern day survivor?)

    What is clear to me in this clip is that the dog is able to enjoy itself; it is able to learn behaviour which it then uses on its own to give itself pleasure and partake of pleasure with others. It is clearly not just a dumb animal (I know Bessie, bless her, would perhaps be a Statemented pupil at doggy school – but there are always exceptions to any rule!).

    I found this with any of the higher mammals I have worked with (and there is considerable evidence that some octopuses have about the same IQ as a domestic cat). The dog we had when I was growing up was very bright and (this may surprise those who haven’t worked on a farm) cows can be exceptionally bright, particularly Jerseys. I’ve seen one open a gate – indeed I once had to spend half an hour chasing my head cow (mother superior, as I called her) around a paddock after she decided there was no way she was going back onto ‘tired’ pasture as we returned from milking and so unhitched the gate that barred her way to greener pasture (that couldn’t be seen from the field where they were grazing – so how did she know it was there?) and ran amok in a lush hay meadow. After half an hour of me running hither and thither, whacking her buttocks with a switch of holly, she stopped turned, looked me in the eye, gave a nonchalant shake of her head and sulkily made her way back to where she was supposed to be!

    Videos like this demonstrate that animals are intelligent, sentient beings – as you know I am no tree hugging vegan (bacon, eggs, blackpudding and fried bread as our Saturday morning treat this morning – and steak and chips for dinner – Saturdays are our ‘treat’ day! - tomorrow it'll be back to five a day and only one portion of red meat every 7 days) but I have a tremendous respect for animals. At the monastery my nickname was ‘St Francis’ because I could get animals to behave for me in a way others couldn’t (even bees!) and I think in part it was because I had/have a healthy respect for them...

    So, do you think this dog has a soul?


  4. Bessie turned five a few days ago, Fr Oder and in dog terms is still a little short of being a "lady of a certain age". But the race is not always to the young and agile and all that! Some of us who are approaching slightly more mature years still have plenty of get up and go, you know:)

  5. Goodness, it's past ten o'clock and I have to think about whether dogs really do have souls (rather than just joking about it!) It is a difficult one to even start on seeing as, in a strictly scientific sense, the existence of the soul - if defined as a consciousness that continues to exist outside of our material existence - cannot be proved and scant, if any, evidence for it exists.
    You are asking me to engage with theological concepts! I think the orthodox line is "only humans have souls" - but then (given the presupposition that the soul exists in the first place) the intelligence and self awareness of some species does raise genuine questions. As I've said before, I am increasinly resorting to "dunno really" as my answer to such imponderables!
    I shall think about it in more depth. I can't really promise more than "dunno really" though.
    Can anyone shed any light on this matter? Blog post may follow!

  6. Milly, my springer spaniel, was spayed at a young age and has remained an Ever-Virgin. It is important for a bitch to observe "Issues of Canine Sexuality" to attain everlasting glory. As an unmarried "sniffer" dog, Milly can smell an evangelical a mile off. I have trained her to bite them. Of course dogs have souls. Milly has discarded all her toys in favour of her rosary beads. Like Our Lady, she is without sin.

  7. That sorts it then, Milly and Bessie are destined for eternal glory. They will skateboard and surf side by side for ever:)

  8. Peter is mistaken in assuming Bessie may have been a statemented pupil at doggy school. As a young pup she learned lots of complicated tricks. And as an adult, she has trained her family to expect very little of her while she gets away with eating a lot and pleasing herself.

    She is clearly a star pupil at doggie school, and is probably teaching an advanced class in 'How to Train Your Humans'.

    Let's just call her Prof. Bessie.

    Iffy Vicar

  9. Iffy Vicar knows both Bessie and dogs in general very well indeed, so I guess that is pretty accurate.

    [Some statemented pupils are actually very bright BTW:)]