British readers will be familiar with the many and varied explanations given for late running of trains in our country.
Travelling back to Aberdeen from Nottingham on Monday, we were a bit late in the season for the "leaves on the line" line and it's not yet deep enough into winter for "the wrong kind of snow", and so they had to come up with a different excuse for the 16 minute delay in arriving into Newcastle...
Minor hiccups involving stray equines aside, it was a pleasant enough journey once I had found a spot to make myself comfortable.
So Gail and I are standing by the ticket barrier at Nottingham station yesterday morning when a tall, handsome and well spoken young man comes bounding over and addresses Gail thus:
"May I just say I think your dog is awesome!"
Gail says thank you and a big beaming smile lights up her face as she temporarily forgets that she finds constant use of the adjective 'awesome' ever so slightly irritating.
We had just been to see Human Granny. Despite finding it increasingly difficult to move around, she stays cheerful and positive about life, and interested in what's going on in the world. And she always smiles when she sees me.
I hope Gail doesn't mind if I tell you I think HGY is AWESOME.
May I introduce myself as Bouncing Bertie Boffin, recently reconfirmed in the post of Director of Scientific Studies for Blogville.
Today I am reporting on the results of my very important investigations concerning the pee-holding abilities of my fellow citizens.
First all I want to say a big Thank You to those who contributed such valuable data, without which none of this work would have been possible.
As you may remember, it all came about after my journey back from Switzerland, where I lasted for 17 hours on the ferry back to Newcastle before I decided I really did need to release the pressure on my bladder. And I wondered how, in similar circumstances, my friends might fare?
To put this study on a proper scientific footing, I formulated three, no actually four, hypotheses that I wanted to test. There were:
1. That bigger dogs would be able to go for longer than smaller dogs before needing a pee.
2. That middle aged dogs would do better than the very young and the very old
3. That female dogs would hold it in longer than male dogs as they have less apparent need to decorate lampposts and trees etc.
4. In all circumstances, that dogs would be able to hold out far longer than their human carers.
Before moving onto the detailed data analysis, I should first address issues relating to my methodology.
A certain person (i.e. Gail) has suggested that my sampling may be flawed in that several of those who answered interpreted my question as an open invitation to boast about their own bladder capacity, or even (yes that would be you Wyatt) to exaggerate the weaknesses of irritating younger siblings, thus skewing the data. To which I answer, how dare she impugn the integrity of my fellow Blogville citizens!
On the subject of admissible data, I did agonize long and hard about whether the information submitted by the only non-canine participant, should be included. To circumvent any difficulties, I decided (for the purposes of this study only) to treat a certain Diva and Former Mayoress Madi, as an honorary dog. I trust this is acceptable to all.
OK, so on to the data, which I have presented in the table below. Please note that a few dogs seemed reluctant to disclose their weight - Dory's gang guilty here - and in these cases (highlighted in the table) I either used an average weight for the breed, as provided by Wikipedia, or made an educated guess based on photographic evidence.
For my first hypothesis, as you can see from the following graph, there is a weak correlation (R-squared = 0.16) between size (measured in terms of weight in kg) and time before needing a pee. I am sure that dog owners will in future use the equation presented on the graph to calculate how long a particular pup not included in this study might be expected to 'hold it in'.
As for the effect of age, you will see below that I have matched the data to a polynomial curve which totally convincingly confirms my theory that pee-holding ability reaches an apex in the middle years of life. This is also supported by the anecdotal evidence you provided, especially on the topic of embarrassing 'leakage' in extreme old age.
To test for the gender difference I analysed the data using the appropriate statistical test (student's t-test) and found, somewhat unexpectedly, there was no significant difference between the males and females who took part in this study. Maybe that whole 'dogs are from Mars and bitches from Venus' thing is the pile of tosh that some of us have always suspected...
My fourth finding is perhaps the most important. Although I did not specifically ask for data relating to humans, several of you volunteered evidence on this topic anyway. (In some cases, might I say, we perhaps had a little too much information, although I personally do sympathise with that fact that Sarge suffers disturbed nights due to excessive toilet flushing...) Anyway, the message comes through loud and clear.
Us dogs can, on average, go 13.7 hours before we need a pee, and our humans cannot even begin to compete.
Finally, I note that the amazing data you provided has suggested further lines of enquiry, and I am now hoping to secure a major financial award (or the equivalent in treats) to pursue the two following questions:
Several of you including, Petite-Chose and Inca, Bella Roxy and Macdui, Cobi and Otto, mentioned that your retention time increases significantly when you are faced with going out in the rain, especially thunderstorms. This naturally make one want to investigate the impact of future climate change on the strength of dogs' bladders.
Location also seems to be important (Gus, Trilby, Macy Blue and Tootsie) and I was particularly interested in Gus's reluctance to 'release' in New Mexico, Texas and part of Louisiana. I would like to test the hypothesis that the ability to wait before peeing may, in the USA, vary according to the state, and that in extreme cases, dog owners may have had to relocate because of this.
So those are my results of my research. I am confident that this novel and important study merits the award of a Pee-hD degree. And of course I am happy to answer any questions arising from any of the work presented here.
I want you to know that I have been working hard analysing the data you all so kindly provided for my Pee-hD thesis. Gosh, when I asked you to tell me how long you can go without needing a 'comfort break', for sure it was like I tapped into a full bladder of information and it all came gushing out...
I am aiming have my thesis ready to present (and defend) on Monday 21 November.
If you are wondering why I am wearing these silly socks, well it is 'cos this week I have had another flare up of the horrid interdigital cyst problem I get from time to time. Gail is making me wear the socks indoors to stop me licking and chewing my paws.
I was limping so badly earlier in the week I even had to go to the vet. Can you believe, she actually wanted to touch my paws, despite them being ever so sore! I was prescribed some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory tablets. By this morning my feet were feeling a bit better and I enjoyed a wee run in the park before knuckling down to my research.
Sometimes (actually, almost every time) when I go for a walk with Gail's friend Yvonne, we end up at Costa Coffee in Cults.
And although dogs are not allowed inside the cafe, I am pleased to say that my favourite Barista, Sophie, understands how a wee pup might just feel a little lonely as he waits patiently on the street, especially when he has been 'parked' so insensitively right beside a litter bin, and so she kindly takes the time to come out and say hello and give me an ear rub.
Now I don't doubt that young Sophie is a true expert in the matter of making coffee for humans, but I would like to draw her attention to the fact that a blogging friend of mine in England, a certain cute wee Cavalier King Charles Spaniel known as Princess Leah, is a frequent visitor to her local branch of Costa's, where she enjoys her very own 'Puppicino'.
I am sure that Sophie could master the Puppicino in time for my next visit?
To start with I was being patient when Gail insisted on taking loads of non-Bertie shots over in Torridon at the weekend...
It was all: "Oh Bertie, just look at trees glowing burnished gold in the late autumn light, the rainbow arching over the loch, the sprinkling of new snow topping the mountains, the handsome stag auditioning for a Landseer painting, oh and wow more rainbows ..."
...but enough is enough, frankly one can only put up with so much of this kind of thing, and I had to bounce over to remind her of the importance of 'foreground interest'...
Now this is more like it.
[Gail and I did wonder if maybe we should be posting some photos of the less attractive corners of Scotland today, 'cos we heard that if a certain D.Trump loses a certain election on the other side of the Pond, then he is planning to spend more time in this country, and I'll be straight with you, we really don't want him here, ruining our glorious wild landscape with more of his hideous hotels and pesticide-drenched golf courses.]
P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to contribute valuable data for my latest research project. I am currently analysing all the fascinating information provided, and will be presenting my Pee-hD thesis within the next two weeks.
My predecessor Hamish the Westie hated fireworks with a vengeance and so would noisily and at length object to the traditional 5th November Guy Fawkes Night celebrations. Me, I've never had a problem with all those whizzes and bangs and so was happy to accompany Gail to Inveralligin yesterday evening, where between heavy showers, the rituals of an old fashioned Bonfire Night were being observed.
What the pictures don't capture are the echoes of the rockets reverberating around the mountains, the speckled reflections of the fireworks on the waters of Loch Torridon, and the whisky-fuelled conviviality of the locals huddled together in the nearby shelter.
The one bit I didn't like was the dark walk home to the cottage, finding our way along the rough wet track with only Gail's failing wind-up torch for illumination. I stumbled a couple of times and thought I might have been carried, but no such luck...
I guess it is the lot of us international jet-setters (well, North Sea ferry and Inter-Continental Express train setters, to be strictly accurate) to find everything seems rather provincial when we return to our home territory.
So here I am, with my newly broadened horizons, all anxious to discuss matters pertaining to Britain's relationship with the rest of Europe and The World, and explain to my pals the particular allure of foreign female miniature dachshunds, only to find all the posts and trees 'decorated' with messages about the latest dog-owner versus cyclist spat on the Deeside Way and other such local tittle tattle.
Oh wait a minute, what's this I detect here? A short but globally-relevant pee-mail.
It reads "No to Donald Trump!"
I shall add my wholehearted affirmation of this particular message.
Perhaps we're not so provincial after all...
P.S. Please don't miss the opportunity to contribute to my very important Pee-hD Research Project (see previous post). The more data the better!
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....)