You will have gathered by now that The Boss is a slow learner. His main problem is he never takes things at face value – he prefers to look for complexity rather than letting the obvious be his best instructor.
A good example came up the other day when he was telling me about an article the young missus sent him from Frontiers of Zoology, which published some detailed research showing that dogs like to poo in alignment with the earth’s magnetic field.
He seemed to think this was a new discovery – a remarkable insight – when all he had to do was pay attention to my toilet habits over the last five years.
“I reckon they might have something there, General,” he said nodding at me.
I mean, what could I say, apart from sticking my tongue out a little further? The dumbo.
“You know, they tested 70 dogs from 37 breeds over two years, watched 1,893 poos and 5582 pees,” he went on.
“And they found that dogs like to do it on a north-south axis under calm magnetic field conditions!”
Woo-hoo! I was shaking my head by this time. Not just at him but thinking about these silly devils spending their valuable research grant money watching dogs poo-ing.
It turns out that the more they watched the more they got confused - more than The Boss even - because there were these morning and evening variations (not to mention a single male borzoi who steadfastly kept veering towards the northwest. He was probably deaf in the left ear!)
Eventually they figured out that the magnetic field leans a bit west in the morning and to the east in the evening and is pretty quiet at night.
They had to get all this magnetic interference data from observatories to work it out - to correlate, as they say - rather than just asking me.
And then, they started looking for deeper explanations, wondering if dogs had a new kind of sense, or whether we did it consciously or unsconsciously:
It is still enigmatic why the dogs do align at all, whether they do it “consciously” (i.e., whether the magnetic field is sensorial perceived (the dogs “see”, “hear” or “smell” the compass direction or perceive it as a haptic stimulus) or whether its reception is controlled on the vegetative level (they “feel better/more comfortable or worse/less comfortable” in a certain direction).
You have to feel sorry for people who spend their lives this way.
I mean, I’d like to claim a mysterious haptic stimulus is at work but in reality it’s very simple. We’re in tune.
But it doesn’t matter to us that much because more important things will often take priority.
Like the gas truck, for instance. The gas people send The Boss a text the day before delivery, asking him to open the gates and lock up the dogs – so when he forgets to lock me up I like to nick over and pee on the gas truck tyres, whichever way it faces.
Or better still, pee on the gas man’s boot if he’s talking to The Boss – my little “calling card” for those who challenge my right to roam.
And some days, it’s just more fun to poo on the track during my morning stroll…in the hope the missus will step on it, even if I need to angle east-west to achieve it.
But when life is hunky-dory and when all other things are equal – which is most of the time – the dogs' body is going to line up roughly north-south, even if the dog's head is pointing at something interesting elsewhere. Watch the next dog you see in the act. Call it the dogs’ meridian. Woof.