The first experiment looked the most promising. I had thirteen willing participants, Dex and Lou, Dexter, Pip, Jazzi, Sarge, Asta, Shawnee, Daisy, Kendra and Bella, Ludo, and Jed. I took into account everyone's useful suggestions and devised a cunning plan to allow for differences in size, coat type, grooming regime, and degree to which the Mums and Dads had past histories of noisy aversion to cold water. I had my stopwatch and my microphone at the ready. There was much shaking of wet coats and squealing of Mums and Dads.
I know. It was foolish of me to stand right by the pond while taking the measurements. The tsunami created when Dexter and Jed leapt in together swept me off my paws, and I fear that my electronic recording instruments did not survive the immersion...
As for the second experiment. It soon became clear from all the comments that my past attempts to educate the dog-blogging community into the nature of the scientific process have been falling on deaf ears (of all shapes and sizes).
I had hoped that my students would by now be able to distinguish between a serious scientific experiment and a race! How could so many of them fail to appreciate that a test of the hypothesis that dogs with longer legs can swim faster is not a swimming competition? And that winning is not the point. Yes I'm looking at you especially, Tessa. Now I don't know which dog it was that decided to 'cheat' by handing out large plates of pilfered tube steaks and bratwurst to some of the participants immediately before the experiment, and slipping collars weighted with lead onto others, all I can say for certain is that I am desperately disappointed in each and every one of those involved. Pip, Frankie, Sarge, Asta, Puddles and Jed, did you really mean for it to be one big fiasco?
Then there was the third experiment Frankie. Or rather there wasn't. WHERE WERE ALL THE VOLUNTEERS? MANGO? I can only conclude that, to a man, the purportedly 'all male' doggies feared looking 'small' after a fifteen minute dip in the 10ºC water.
And you know what? Gail has been no help at all. When I told her that none of my friends had offered to have their testicles photographed, strictly in the cause of science, was she sympathetic? She was not.
"Well Bertie," she said, "I think you should do as Toby suggested, and volunteer yourself. That's what a really dedicated scientist would do. Did you know that when Sir Isaac Newton was conducting experiments into the nature of light, he poked a darning needle into his own eye socket to test the theory that colour perception is caused by pressure on the eyeball?"
As you can imagine, I explained to Gail very patiently that since I was conducting the experiments myself I could not possibly take part, and while I appreciated her offer of help I didn't think it at all appropriate that she should take 'before' and 'after' photographs of me...
But instead of saying "yes Bertie, you're right, of course, as always," Gail just gave me a LOOK.
Well that was the final straw.
I am so downhearted and discouraged. All that hard work, and for nothing.
Maybe I should hand back my badge of office?
Your most despondent Scientific Advisor,
Bertie Boffin (not feeling very bouncy today).
Hi, I'm Bertie, a wire-haired fox terrier pup. I live with Gail in Aberdeen, Scotland. An old Westie called Hamish used to live here but he died on 18th February 2010 (exactly the same day I was born). People tell me that he used to have a blog and that I have big pawprints to fill. That's a bit too much responsibility for a very young puppy - and anyway, I intend to make my own mark!
(Gail says that Hamish could certainly have taught me a thing or two about marking stuff....)