2016 Blog Tours Giveaway Guest Post Hannah Coates Hodder & Stoughton
Blog Tour: Bertie's Gift - Guest Post by Hannah Coates and Giveaway
Today is my stop on the Blog tour for Bertie's Gift by Hannah Coates, the inspirational story of one cheeky little dog, his sister and two grumpy cats. Hannah is sharing a lovely post today about dogs and you can also win a copy of the book for yourself:
Dogs are loyal by nature. They were pack animals in the wild, back before the days of domestication. So their most basic role within a human household is to defend the pack – and everything within it - against intruders. Which is why even the most mild-mannered pooch may suddenly transform into a fierce defender of the letterbox, baying at the hapless postie, or yapping hysterically at passers-by when left in a car. Noisy, perhaps. But it may help some more vulnerable owners to sleep better at night.
A dog can be your friend and faithful companion, in way that a cat could never consent to – or even understand. As Rudyard Kipling puts it in his famous short story, The Cat That Walked By Himself, ‘I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me.’ Cats can move home at a moment’s notice, if conditions seem more favourable elsewhere, even after years with a kindly owner. But a dog imprints itself on you, early on in your relationship, and will follow you like a shadow, play with you, always be there for you, and howl disconsolate in your absence.
If a dog disobeys pack rules in the wild, they’re either ejected from the pack, or fall behind and so lose their protected place. Either way, they die. So obedience to the pack Alpha is tied in with a dog’s physical safety and well-being. Because of this imperative, we’re able to train dogs in a way that you can’t train a cat. We can train dogs to do complex tricks, roll over for treats, jump through hoops, and not only bark at some people, but not bark at others. A dog’s obedience is intelligent; it allows them to be selective, to make judgement calls about who’s at the door. Friend or foe. And given their relative strength, obedience training plays a key role in keeping humans safe from more aggressive dogs.
Closely allied to a dog’s obedience is the idea of social conscience. This is something cats don’t experience! Both cats and dogs will sneak a juicy bone off your plate while your back’s turned. But only a dog will feel shame afterwards. You never see a cat with its tail between its legs, quaking in a corner after a shameful ‘incident’, looking contrite. There’s no equivalent ‘hang-dog’ head bowing for cats! That’s why dogs can make better companions than cats: they have that sense of a shared code, of right and wrong.
Courageous and Helpful
Because of that shared code, and their fierce loyalty to the pack, many breeds of dog make excellent human helpers. This has been the case for thousands of years. Although cats help out too, it’s mainly brave, hard-working dogs who serve the community every day as guide dogs, rescue dogs, police dogs, sniffer dogs, army dogs, and calming dogs who are placed with patients with mental illness.
Vive la difference, perhaps. But dogs will always come first with me!
About the book:
Title: Bertie's Gift
Author: Hannah Coates
Published: October 20th 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton
Blurb: Bertie is alone, devastated after his beloved sister and fellow beagle Molly is adopted, leaving him behind. When Bertie is taken in by the Green family, it seems he's finally found a place to call home...
Yet Bertie swiftly realises that the kind and loving Green family is in crisis. After a tragedy two years ago, they've never recovered - and as Christmas approaches, grief is pulling them apart.
Never has a four-legged friend been more in need - and brave, warm-hearted Bertie must rise to the challenge. Can he enlist the help of hostile felines Kitty and Rico to help him find Molly - and can he bring the Green family back together