Creativity

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The Independent Culture
THIS WEEK, readers' dogs tell us about humans.

We are so inconsistent. "Why is it wrong to chase cats, but right to chase burglars?" asks Sue Johnson's Labrador, while John O'Byrne's pooch is puzzled by what's wrong with chasing golf balls. And Ben Birchall, a 13-stone Rottweiler, asks why it was OK to sit on Bruce's lap when he was a puppy, but it's not now. "I wear my name on my collar," says Larry Berryman's Spot, "but he sews his own name inside his clothes and sports other men's names on the outside!"

Parliament mystifies John Pickin's bitch Lucy: "Why do they keep barking at the other side?" she wonders, and advises instead: "A few quick ankle nips, chase them off, and pee over their benches!"

Human beings don't know how to greet strangers, growls T.M. O'Grady's dog; and they never lick themselves or howl at the moon; and don't they look stupid without any tails?

"Ian just loves throwing a large stick," writes Rover Hurdley. "And if I bring it back for him, he will keep on throwing it for hours!"

"When they eat meat, they leave the bones," complains Colin Archer's Rex. "They bathe in clean water," points out Alex's Scruff. "They have still not had that hole in the front door repaired, and twice a day this pest-man comes and pushes more litter through it," writes Mary Flavin's Ripper. "I create all this fertiliser for the park, and he scoops it up with a shovel and puts in a bag and disposes of it," says Bill Palmer's Fido.

"I'm the champion, and he gets all the credit," writes Andrew Duncan's Patch. "They run round race tracks, when there's no hare," says Nigel Plevin's greyhound.

Paul Turner's beagle complains: "They chase foxes, but don't eat them; they sell our pups, but don't approve of surrogate mothers; we guard their houses all year, then they go away on holiday, put us in kennels and leave the place totally empty!"

And there will be a Boxer Rebellion if C. Martin puts Duke's ball away again, when he has deliberately left it at the top of the stairs so that he knows where it is.

Larry Berryman, Nigel Plevin and Paul Turner each win a Chambers Dictionary of Quotations.

Loki knows another Finnish nurse in the same hospital. "These Finnish nurses coming over here," he teased her; "they are like another wave of Viking invaders, 1,000 years after the first . . ." "Only this time, we don't come in longboats," she grinned back, mischievously, "and it's our women that have come to carry off your men!" - her best friend is now marrying an Englishman.

We seek similarly imaginative contemporary parallels for historical events. Ideas to Creativity, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL or e-mail Loki.Valhalla@btinternet.com by 16 September. Results and three more Chambers prizes to be announced on 21 September. Next week: skills from former occupations that prove to be useful in new careers.

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