My social media timelines exploded with posts last night about the canine winner of Britain’s Got Talent. A collie called Matisse and his owner/trainer Jules showed a very well scripted routine linking tricks together into a story that was heartwarming to the end.
Not without controversy, a big question mark hangs over the idea of dogs being used for entertainment. I was on standby to talk about this on Radio 5 Live this morning, but got pipped to the post by a Star Wars stunt man who trains his own stunt dogs. Impressive, although I don’t remember dogs in Star Wars, but who knows? Performing dogs have a very different, and difficult job to do.
During the show’s heats, we saw various dog acts. One terrier, Cally, burst balloons frantically and achieved a world record.
Another dog on the show supposedly hypnotised people, including Simon Cowell. I had my doubts about this until I looked down at our little dog crew staring fixedly at my dinner plate. Were those pairs of eyes able to convince me to give them any leftovers? (sometimes, if I am honest). If dogs really could hypnotise us, imagine the chaos!
The most controversial act was a gentleman called Marc with a little white pooch called Wendy. Initially the audience appeared baffled when Marc spoke to Wendy, and Wendy talked back, moving her mouth at the same time as the words that were coming out. A talking dog! However her appearance seemed unusual; a muzzle with movable jaw had been fitted over her own nose and mouth. A bit of fun, you say? Looking closely, she did not look very relaxed or happy.
So, does YOUR dog have talent? Yes of course!
All our dogs do. Who else would put up with us humans and our doors, our noisy, whizzing metal boxes on wheels, our mean withholding of delicious food? Who else would let you treat them like a cushion, hugging and turning them upside down, singing to them and calling them soppy names? Above all, what other species would allow you to tether them to your wrist and agree to walk next to you (or thereabouts) instead of planting their bottoms down and refusing, or biting you for it. What tolerant creatures they are.
Your dog is perfectly evolved to survive us humans. Now THAT is a talent! Give them your vote.