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A Man of Few Words - by Swan Morrison

Intelligent Dogs for the Stupid

This week’s appeal is in aid of a vital but, sadly, little-known charity. Most people know of the wonderful work done by Guide Dogs for the Blind and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. Many fewer of us will have heard of the important activities undertaken by Intelligent Dogs for the Stupid.

Mr Grimes of Crewe was on the point of agreeing to having a roof slate fixed and his drive tarmacked by a builder who ‘happened to be doing work in the area’ who called at his door. The barking of Prince, his dog, alerted him to the fact that this was a very bad idea.

Mr Clayton of Rotherham was planning to make his flat open-plan by removing three load-bearing walls. Scamp, the retriever, guarded the sledgehammer and growled each time Mr Clayton approached it until he got the message. This was particularly fortuitous as Mr Clayton owned a ground-floor flat in a high-rise tower block.

Disaster might have struck in both these cases without the trained animals which your donations could help to provide.

A particular difficulty for the Charity lies in identifying recipients for the dogs. People who are visually or hearing impaired are well aware of their disabilities and are often in contact with professionals who can discuss with them the benefits of a canine partner. Those suffering from chronic stupidity may be unaware of their condition and even react with hostility when it is pointed-out to them. This is particularly true if the diagnosis is tactlessly screamed by a fellow motorist, or proffered at the wrong moment - for example by a helpful fellow inebriate, near closing time.

Potential recipients are identified in a number of ways. Those who ring radio phone-ins to express their opinions on issues of the day are frequently in the Charity’s target group. Those who become excited about being selected from all the homes in their neighbourhood to be entered in the free prize draw of a well-known publisher are also approached, when identified.

Many new owners of intelligent dogs for the stupid are surprised by the number of times their animals save them from actions they had not recognised as illogical. ‘At first I couldn’t understand why Rover kept dragging me away from the Lotto counter at the local shop,’ said Mrs Travers of Bolton, ‘after all, I was due for a big win.’ Mr Higgins of Blackpool was eventually grateful to Rufus, the Alsatian, for savaging the loan consultant from a finance company, who was trying to convince him how beneficial it would be to take on a level of debt comparable to that of South America.

Training of the dogs is a long and expensive process as they must learn to recognise many varieties of stupidity. In this respect the Charity is greatly indebted to its patron, Her Majesty The Queen, who allows animals in training to accompany selected members of her own family - many of whom have such dogs of their own.

Please give generously to this worthy cause.