24 SEPTEMBER 1932, Page 12


In spite of a determination to keep out of the controversy about the lack of mind in dogs and birds, indignation is too strong ; and the excuse for giving way is that none of the defenders has emphasized one important point. The dog, and perhaps the bird, is capable of immensely strong affections towards mankind ; and no one who has kept a dog, at any rate a spaniel, can have any doubt that the dog yearns to understand. This desire to comprehend an intelligent being (with apologies for the conceit), is perhaps a stronger evidence of mind than the learning of tricks. Of all the philosophers one was once made to read I always liked best the ingenious Scotsman who argued that intelligence (he called it will- reason), was developed along the line of conflicting instincts. It is so, I think, with the dog. His primal instincts come up against the superior reason-instinct of his master and by the confliction he is driven to think and so develops the latent power. * * * *