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I’ve been wondering about ancestral memory recently.

Take Alfie.  He’s my daughter’s little white dog.  She describes him as a bichon frise-something-or-other cross.  I call him a mongrel.

Alfie doesn’t mind.

He’s about 7 years old, although he’s rather guarded about his age.  Vanity, I suppose.

Anyroadup, Alfie does that timeless thing that all dogs have done since cavelady times.  (Setting out my woke credentials there, see?).  He lurks under the dinner table and weaves his way through diners’ and dining chairs’ legs, prowling in search of dropped tit-bits; or gazing up at you with big forlorn eyes hoping for some soft-headed idiot to give him something off their plate.

He’s also developed a remarkable sense of hearing which alerts him even in his deepest slumbers (which is Alfie’s other hobby) to the sound of the fridge door being opened.

But now here’s the thing.

We’ve never fed him at the table from stuff from off our plates.  So you’d think that in his 7 years of experience and conditioning that he might have learned this and realised he’s better off continuing to invest his twitching energies into his sleep.

But no.  He’s clearly never heard of Pavlov.  So the question is this: does he follow a wilder, more ancestral call from his forbears?

Or else is he incorrigibly optimistic, stupid and a greedy little bugger?




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John Coopey

Sat 1st Apr 2023 10:01

I’m not so sure, Stephen. He also charges at the telly when animals appear on the screen. We lock him in the utility room as a punishment for an hour or so, But he is incapable of learning and keeps on repeating. Stupid, see. Or some kind of pooch autism.

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Stephen Gospage

Sat 1st Apr 2023 07:52

I go for the ancestral call, John.

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John Coopey

Fri 31st Mar 2023 11:51

It seems to me, MC, unlikely that humans are the only animal species which has individuals mentally rewired differently. I reckon that Alfie is autistic.

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 31st Mar 2023 10:43

We might well ask "What's it all about, Alfie?"
My niece has a "cross" out of that breed, chosen for its size and
convenience in her small South Devon seaside flat. They seem
to be a happy match.

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John Coopey

Thu 30th Mar 2023 09:44

Thankyou, Helene for your thoughts and Stephen and CLare for the Like.

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Thu 30th Mar 2023 04:31

Enjoyed reading about Alfie. Vivid, sweet, funny poem!

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