Over at NBC's Cosmic Log I'm reading Alan Boyle's Why Werewolves Give Us the Willies a piece on Linda Godfrey's Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America.
Boyle asks the question 'if there are all these reports of "upright canids," why haven't scientists identified this, um, unusual species?'
When I was a teenager in the early Seventies I had a mate called Terry who had this huge black Labrador called Sooty which was basically either a super genius or totally insane. Probably both.
It seemed to go round with a permanent bonger on that resembled an enormously long stick of boiling pink lava which it used to hump every lamppost or leg it could wrap itself round but never let any of this incapacitate its attempts to keep up with its beloved master.
There were a lot of derelict houses round at the time and we used to spend a great deal of time on their roofs enabling Terry to call down to Sooty and tease him he was beyond its reach.
Sooty though'd vanish out of sight and the next thing we'd know its overly long nails'd be making a clipping sound on the slate tiles as it came galloping up over the other side of the roof only to then start splaying its legs almost to the point of doing the splits as it struggled to avoid sliding off the roof to its doom.
Time after time it kept pulling off this trick and no one was quite sure how until one day Terry called down to me from the roof he was on I simply mustn't delay rushing round the alleyway at the back because I was not go'n'o believe what I'd see Sooty shinning up a drain pipe.
Bollocks I thought but fuck me it really was!
Then it occurred to me it was obviously a hoax and someone'd cruelly stuck it up there and I began to worry how we were go'n'o get it down especially since its legs clearly had to've been dislocated to get them round the pipe.
But to my astonishment it now proceeded to wiggle its way to the top get free and clamber up on the roof then lose its footing and after madly scrabbling on the spot Scooby Doo style for several extremely fraught seconds slip backwards rotate in mid air then land atop a derelict bomb shelter just below.
I was told some years later it died under similar circumstances as a result of old age finally catching up with it.
When I tell most people that story they refuse to believe it or write it off as a freak story about a freak animal yet less than a decade later I was living on a Toxteth housing estate where a family nicknamed the Jaspers were celebrated for having a cross breed Beagle called Patchy which was more intelligent than them and one day I was observing one of our neighbours black cat sitting on the fence taunting the local dogs by drooping her tail over the edge then sweeping it back up at the last possible moment .
This went on for a while until Patchy showed up.
He stood there with his stout little leggies spread wide as if carefully appraising the situation then to my astonishment started shinning up the fence by inserting his legs between the gaps between the planks.
Meanwhile the black cat with a look of the utmost pleasure on her chops'd gotten so smug about her fishing for dogs trick she'd lain down on the fence and almost started dozing off until she now suddenly realised Patchy'd trotted along the fence and was standing right over her.
She let out a squawk then fled hotly pursued by a yipping Patchy until she escaped by leaping the gap to the next fence forcing him to abandon his hunt and jump down to trot off with a look almost of utmost satisfaction on his little chops.
The point of these stories's Alan Boyle wonders why scientists haven't identified Linda Godfrey's unknown race of "upright canids"?
Probably for the same reason they'd accuse me of being confused deluded or a liar because "dogs simply can't do such things".
Well not if you spend all your time in a lab validating your research with reference to the work of other researchers who also spend all their time in labs.
For some strange reason unknown "upright canid" species and dogs that like to shin up drainpipes or fences don't seem to like hanging out in labs.