Sunday, 18 August 2013

Corvus: an unsuitable read

I wonder if my fellow pups feel the need to monitor the reading habits of their humans?

Mostly, in this household, I am pretty relaxed about Gail's choices. When I was younger, I used to worry about the shelves devoted to travel in far away lands, and fear that I could at any time be abandoned should my owner be suddenly inspired to go for a short walk in the Hindu Kush, or take a notion to run with the reindeer in Arctic Russia or to cycle full tilt from Europe to India.

But I have come to understand that these days she enjoys the comforts of home and dog, and is not quite so adventurous as her book collection might have you believe.

Likewise, one might get concerned about the wide range of popular science titles found on our shelves, after all, history shows that those with an interest in scientific experimentation have often turned to their pets as involuntary participants in their researches. Think Pavlov, Schrödinger* etc. But I am pleased to say that in practice Gail's inclination is for geology, which is an observational and not an experimental science.

Of course there is any amount of fiction  in our household library, but thank goodness not too much evidence of any interest in gruesome crime novels or disturbing fantasy material.

Incidentally, I have been a little anxious about the obsession that Angus (owner of the delightful Bob and Sophie) has with biographies of US presidents. However, having PONdered long and hard on this issue, I have concluded that there is little to worry about here, given that so many presidents seem either to genuinely adore their own pups, or at least to find it politically expedient to to pretend they do.

I digress.

All this preamble is in order that you understand I do not lightly criticise Gail's  literary choices, nor do I make a fuss where none is warranted.

But really. There comes a time when one has to take a stand. 

Like when you notice the look of delight fluttering across on your owner's face as she reads a book about the joys of life with a pet rook.

Yes you read that right, a rook (confusingly called Chicken). Oh, and a magpie, a cockatiel and a sun conure too. All in living in the same house, in quite a posh area of ABERDEEN.

Has no-one seen Hitchcock's 'The Birds'?

Oh this is all so horribly close to home. In my very own city, there lives this woman, Esther Woolfson, who promotes the dangerous idea that birds, in particular those of the family Corvidae, can be intelligent, affectionate and rewarding pets. And Gail seems to find the concept quite intriguing.

I've even overheard her enthusing about the book, 'Corvus' to several of her friends, twittering on about how it has changed the way she thinks about our feathered 'friends'.

I really am most concerned. Perhaps some of you might like to suggest more suitable reading material.

Preferably something that reasserts the supremacy of the dog as pet of choice for the discerning animal lover.

*Yes I do know that Schrödinger's was only a thought experiment. But I also know that the thought is father to the deed....


  1. Hari Om
    Oh Bertie, I understand your concern, but I confess I am something of an avian amorist myself... This very week I am starting a six episode soap opera on My Take Too about a crow family.

    However to avert your fears, I can also highly recommend a book by Tom Ryan called "Following Atticus". A Schnauzer who likes to walk mountains and Tom and he now do so for charity. True Story. A superb read!!

    Further to adventures and terrier dogs: a rather futile effort has been made at My Meno... in regards your earlier request.

    I shall now go and recuperate from efforts. Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  2. Oh wow Bertie
    I think you should just make those book disappear, I mean you do have terror teef dont you?? Claim that you have NO Idea what happened to them!!

    Jazzi and Addi

  3. Our mom had a HOOOOOOGE collection of Clifford the Big Red Dog books... She was quite attached to them fur some reason.. Somethingy to do with having gone to New York City to see a PAWrade and seeing a GIANT BALLOON of Clifford.

    Pawhaps you could steer your mom toward a few of those. They appear to be rather harmless.
    Just sayin.

  4. Oh no . . . we don't know what to suggest, maybe some Spot the Dog? Lee and Phod

  5. This is very vexing and also quite timely. Momma has started feeding "her" crows again and now she rushes out in the morning to put moldy bread or old pizza out under her comfy chair window to watch them come for their daily delight. While chagrined at the waste of perfectly good pizza, I had never given any thought to the possibility that she might be heading down the path of actually inviting those miscreants into our very home. Please keep us posted because I believe we might need a safe house constructed for doggies who have been ousted by bird brains (referring to those with actual feathers and not meaning any disrespect to your Gail).


    P.S. Momma is adding that book to her wish list.

  6. Please tell Gail that feathers are not as comfy to cuddle as furs. We think that says it all. However, if she continues with this obsession, we will welcome you into our home. No birds, no cats, and Teka eats all the buggy monsters!


  7. It's got to be Tintin Bertie. Just tell Gail that you realise that she has read the adventures so many times that she could have written them herself, but you need to be humoured.
    As for the current book... Pffft

  8. Oh Birdie, uh I mean Bertie, of course,
    No worry about Gail getting a Crow or two as I am quite sure she would insist on a Raven. So intelligent, so elegant, I would love one myself. However, the flock has some very strict rules for living, so I am not sure it would be good to remove one to a home. Why not tell her to shop for a beautiful black Mynah bird who make fine pets, learn to talk easily, and would have such fun with you!

    Jo and Stella

  9. Bertie, it's time to put your paw down. We chase all birds out of OUR garden..or wherever they land. The only birds we like are chickens and duck--with rice.

    Shred that book.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  10. Perhaps you could steer her away from those books and towards books about dogs being spoiled and living lives of luxury. Good luck.

    Loveys Sasha

  11. BOL we agree with Sasha. Some dog cook books sounds good to us. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  12. MOL Sasha is not only a Top Chef she give good advice.

    Reading or any human hobby is ok, fine by me as long as meals are prompt!! My interest was peaked by The Birds until Mom told me they were big enough to eat me. MOL
    Hugs Madi your BFFF

  13. Oh dear. Perhaps you need to remind your momma of the advantages of furry over feathered friends? Take her for some good long walks and snuggle her extra.

  14. Hello Bertie,
    Gosh, I never even knew about that! I thought birds were supposed to stay outside, and live their lives outside like pigeons and seagulls, not have the privileges of us dogs!
    I think it would be a good idea to take Gail to Waterstones yourself, and make sure you choose a nice book YOU can read to her!
    Pippa :)

  15. What are we going to do with these women. This one has those books about far away places and guess what else? The true murder ones! Nutty
    Benny & Lily

  16. Hey Bertie,
    Try living in a house with a prospective Vet!!
    Sadly, we have to learn to live with every different kind of creature. (We must admit it is really interesting sometimes) Who knows what she'll bring into the house next weekend.
    My suggestion to you- just practice those pleading works. At least she just reads the books and doesn't put them into practice
    Lotsalicks from your friends

  17. Our mom once read a medieval bestiary that said one should never tell one's secret to crows. That says something about what species one should take into one's home, right?

    We terriers know best what is good for our humans

    Wirey love,

    Jake and Just Harry

  18. Oh, Bertie! Do you think your mom might get a bird after reading the book? My mom says she must read that book, too. Please tell Gail thank you for writing about it!