Friday, December 26, 2003


I'm back in Madison after my trip home to the farm. One consequence of this most recent trip is that I have now revised my previous casual assessment of the relative intelligence of different breeds of dogs. Hitherto, I have regarded border collies as being the smartest breed of dog, based on various seemingly convergent lines of evidence, including their sheep-herding renown. Accordingly, I was pleased about my family's acquisition of their dog Shelby, who is mostly border collie even if my parents insist on exaggerating her border-collie-to-mutt ratio. This trip home, however, my mother told me about Shelby's odd habit of attacking anything that makes a loud noise (e.g., a running vacuum cleaner), and how it recently came to its bloody apex when my father was cutting down some dead trees and Shelby attacked the chainsaw he was using. This to explain why Shelby's bark does not sound quite the same as it used to.

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