Saturday, June 20, 2015

Darwin's dog Bob
Didn't have to look far, to find an answer (implicitly at least) to the modest query in this morning's dawn post: did Darwin walk with dogs, on his daily Sandwalks? According to Darwin's Dogs by Emma Townshend, "dogs were the animals Darwin observed the most closely and for the longest." He may never have spent a day absent their company, except possibly during his Beagle expedition. There were Shelah, Spark, Czar, Sappho, Dash, Pincher, Nina, Bran, Quiz, Tartar, Pepper, Butterton, Tony, Polly... and the big black and white retriever called Bob, a beloved member of the household in the 1860s.
"When Darwin left the house by the lawn door, Bob always believed they were both heading off down the garden for the morning's constitutional. He was excited."
I too am very familiar with the face of canine ambulatory-anticipatory excitement, and with the "hothouse" face of dejection. I have no doubt, Bob was a daily Sandwalker too. He helped his friend think, and like my dogs helped him not overthink.

Also like my dogs, Bob (front and center in this rare photo of the Darwin clan c.1863, sans Charles) knew how to chill between walks. Gotta conserve that second wind.

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