Letter from the editor: Animal encounters


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The Independent Online

OMG (as my children might say), what a week it has been. Unbelievable scenes on the streets of our major cities, non-stop trawling of the news for the latest (accurate) information, and constant updating of stories.

Understandable, I’m sure you’ll agree, that the conversation at iTowers yesterday afternoon turned to remedies for stress and high blood pressure. My colleague Rebecca, who helps put together the IQ pages in i each week, suggested a Bring a Pet to Work day. I thought she was joking, until I spotted her small tortoise, Nimrod, chewing ruminatively on a grape while being admired by a group of staff.

i Towers has experienced animal encounters before. Features supremo Lisa Markwell used to bring a Hungarian vizsla named Scout – a jolly, waggy dog who would lope round the office saying hello to everyone before flopping down at Lisa’s feet while we got on with our work. And Simon Kelner’s dachshund, Rovi, was a huge hit.

Animals are often used in therapy, whether in care homes for the elderly or for children with special needs. Researchers in the US reported only this week that reading to a dog can help children to maintain their literacy levels through the summer vacation. They don’t record whether there is any benefit for the dog.

Our long-suffering production guru Rhodri remarked that it would take more than a tortoise to bring his blood pressure down, however. More like a whole row of labradors sitting on his desk… Could they learn to proof read, I wonder?