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James Thurber on pet peeves

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James Thurber's cartoons and stories started appearing in The New Yorker magazine in the '20s. The well-known ``The Night the Bed Fell'' and ``The Day the Dam Broke'' take place in his home town, Columbus, Ohio. He wrote and illustrated many books. This passage, reprinted courtesy of Helen Thurber, is from ``The Owl in the Attic.'' Q. The fact that my dog sits this way so often leads me to believe that something is preying on his mind. He seems always to be studying. Would there be any way of finding out what this is?

Arthur A. Owing to the artificially complex life led by city dogs of the present day, they tend to lose the simpler systems of intuition which once guided all breeds, and frequently lapse into what comes very close to mental perplexity. I myself have known some very profoundly thoughtful dogs. Usually, however, their problems are not serious and I should judge that your dog has merely mislaid something and wonders where he put it. Q. Our gull cannot get his head down any farther than this, and bumps into things.

H. L. F. A. You have no ordinary gull to begin with. He looks to me a great deal like a rabbit backing up. If he is a gull, it is impossible to keep him in the house. Naturally he will bump into things. Give him his freedom.


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