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Going to the dogs

Ceri Thomas | 10:34 UK time, Friday, 30 June 2006

It was e-mail number 1,226 on the same topic which finally did it for me.

The Today programme logoThe other 1,225 had pictures attached (dogs in prams, dogs in clothes) but this one contained a new feature: a link to the dog's own website. Our fault of course - we were doing an item (listen here) about dogs' names and we'd asked for photographs - but the size of the response was still surprising, almost shocking. Have you really (dear listener) been poised next to your laptop all these years, digital camera at the ready, just waiting for the moment when you could give Thompson the Chocolate Labrador or Colin the Spinoni their fifteen minutes? That's the way it looks.

Some Today listeners' dogsI'm being slightly unfair to us. We always knew that the dog item would have 'legs', but it's very hard to predict how much any of the subjects we cover will grab the audience.

E-mails are one way for us to judge whether or not we're hitting the right notes (and, incidentally, there've been another 30 to do with dogs since I started writing this). Like all the other means at our disposal - focus groups, surveys, and so on - they're imperfect but they serve a purpose.

And sometimes feedback comes in less subtle forms: the high-profile politician who phoned this week to say why he "loathes the programme"; the letter to a presenter which opened with the novel greeting, Dear C***. But if there was a prize for best feedback this week, I'd award it to the cabbie who was giving me a lift early one morning.

I asked if he'd mind putting Today on the radio, and he confessed he'd never listened to it. After all of three minutes he started chuckling to himself, and a couple of minutes later he turned to me. "Gawd, mate," he said, "this is dreadful, isn't it?". And then quietly, under his breath, "Absolutely minging."


  • 1.
  • At 11:22 AM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Frank wrote:

"absolutely minging"

Oh, come on, it's not that bad ;-)

  • 2.
  • At 07:04 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Philippa Robinson wrote:

Dear Ceri

Only one dedicated web site to a dog??

Hasn't every dog got their own site or blog???


Isn't it rather sad that the media agenda is getting set by the media rather than the audience? Would Today have picked up this thread had it not been for a newspaper?

I had always hoped that there were still some sources for people who think for themselves, but every last bastion is falling to the media-herd mentality.

All representations of reality are edited, but it's rather sad when the process of editing is obvious. As Ovid said "ars est celare artem".

Since this subject is evidently popular, I await the Christmas publication of the 'Today Programme Listeners' Dogs.' I shall be one of the many who buy a copy to prop up the wonky leg of the coffee table

  • 4.
  • At 09:48 PM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • K Ross wrote:

I am one of those 2000 who sent in a picture of my dog. This reflects my sentimentality and love of my dog. Please don't interpret it as 'feedback' on your programme. I listen to Today for the quality of interviewing and discussion on issues of national and international importance. If I really wanted trivia about pet dogs I'd tune in elsewhere!



  • 5.
  • At 02:45 AM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Mr. Thomas, if this is representative of your output and the product your employer pays you for, you may yet be replaced by one of those dogs. Just yesterday, I was at a bar talking to one and the subject of your column came up. He bragged he could do a whole lot better and certainly no worse and for far less compensation. He may be man's best friend but if he can read and write half as well as he knocks down a pint or two, I'd say he'd be your worst nightmare. How would you face your friends and family? Then again, maybe you're lucky and it was just the liquor talking. After half an hour of chatting with him, he didn't seem quite so smart after all.

  • 6.
  • At 09:41 AM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Gerald Harding wrote:

What's happened to the gallery? Only 20 pics on Sunday, and our dog Rusty, who hasn't appeared yet, is feeling hard done by.
Great pictures by the way.

  • 7.
  • At 10:06 AM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Vincent Haslam wrote:

Regarding the 2000 dogs names you have received.
Why don't you put the names of the dogs with a link to the pic on your website so we can easily see if there is a pic?

  • 8.
  • At 03:55 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Ruth wrote:

Come on Beeb - where are the pictures?
Benson and Dexter getting very impatient.
Totally agree with the last two messages.

  • 9.
  • At 10:59 AM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Roseanne Barry-Jones wrote:

a couple of points: to Mr Thomas re doting dog owners in a perpetual state of wait to email their pictures -in the age of the digital camera, a few of us out here Only have our photos on the computer, as opposed to in-your-hand "hard copy" photo paper so it is quite easy to email a photo. we haven't Necessarily been waiting. and may i add my voice to Mr Harding above - how come gallery 3 has only 20? Carrick and i are still waiting too.
but thanks for all the super dogs so far

  • 10.
  • At 03:29 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Jacqueline Davies wrote:

Why has our picture not appeared ?
William, Alfie & Eddie
(Three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.)

  • 11.
  • At 05:15 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • jack from Preston wrote:

The same dogs have been on since Saturday,and Sid is getting annoyed. (Get DOWN!!!)

  • 12.
  • At 05:36 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Hilda timmis wrote:

Yes please more dog pics, the dogs dont make me cringe like most of the politicians you interview,and they are honest, the dogs I mean, and Patch for prime minister, I say. hilda.

What about Fifi and Teddy? Have they been censored? Is this a deliberate attack on their non human rights? We have the right to know. Don't pretend you don't know which dogs they are...... the beautiful ones.

You're all talk, you media people. Where are all the dogs you promised?

  • 15.
  • At 02:57 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Geraldine Beveridge wrote:

So, will you be adding any more dog photos, then? At the moment, Gallery 4 only has 38 pictures....any chance of my dog Muffin being one of the missing 12 ?????

  • 16.
  • At 06:42 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Lesley Johnson wrote:

What happened? Too many pictures for the BBC to cope with? I take it that this is all we are going to see. Becket and Ramsey are very upset.

  • 17.
  • At 06:47 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Max wrote:

I'd be tickled pink if the pictures of my two galgos, Kalvin and Star, appeared on the website, but I'm not going to get too upset if they don't. I, of course, have the models and their greeting when I get in from work is what matters!
Max Williams Portland Dorset

  • 18.
  • At 09:26 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Susan Milliams wrote:

Our noble dachshund Max is concerned on two fronts . 1. Where is his photograph? and 2. He is very worried that you might have got his name mixed up with Max Williams of Portland Dorset!(16)
Our Max is Max Milliams. (Yes Williams with an M) He is often known as Maxi (for obvious reasons!)and is an extremely handsome standard wirehaired dachshund!( I don't know about Max Williams!)

  • 19.
  • At 11:36 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Pat Winslow wrote:

Wouldn't it be interesting to have a gallery of human Today listeners? I've often wondered what we all look like.

  • 20.
  • At 08:18 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • andy mullins wrote:

i have sent 2 sets of pics of my being Albert the cocker.In the original report on the show it was commented on that nobody names their dog Albert!!!Well i have,he was named after my grandfather who kept cockers.stick all the pics on and make the doggies day!

  • 21.
  • At 11:03 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Max wrote:

Sadly I am neither handsome nor wire-haired....nearly bald in fact!! But both of my dogs are INCREDIBLY handsome as you might see if Ceri is kind enough to post them!! I, of course, would love to see Maxi...hint, hint!

  • 22.
  • At 11:12 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Ray Hoyle wrote:

Poor Rotten the Rescue Rottweiler. His is the cutest picture of the lot and you haven't posted it! Why?????

  • 23.
  • At 03:11 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • jean bentley wrote:

Please please put all the pictures you have received on a website so that proud owners can see them on screen. Vincent Haslem had a great idea which would enable people to view the pictures. My dogs Polly Suki & Bonzo look great and would be delighted to see for themselves they were part of the Today programme.
- I log on everyday but so far have been very disappointed.
Jean Bentley

  • 24.
  • At 01:45 AM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Josh Randell wrote:

My goodness you dog types are weirdos!

  • 25.
  • At 05:17 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Jenny on behalf of Lassie wrote:

Lassie (La La Girl) is very upset that she hasn't seen her picture on your website yet. She's getting old (she's 13) and she's a bit sad and a bit disappointed... :-(

  • 26.
  • At 05:23 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Susan Milliams wrote:

Still no pictures! Max is very upset! He would love to see Kalvin and Star, and all the others he has only heard about. Come Ceri, let's have the rest of those photos, PLEASE. It is heart breaking to look into his sad eyes. He has always loved Radio 4, especially the afternoon play ! He feels badly let down! Don't we all?

  • 27.
  • At 10:31 AM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • jennifer letheren wrote:

Yes come on Ceri, more pictures! Some are even on twice you know! You really had no idea what a massive response there would be - do I take it you don't have a dog? These pics are real heart warmers and an antidote to all that depressing news -and yes Murphy and Wroofus want to know when they will be on view - what are you doing with them - is there a sinister plot in which you delcare due to a fault 'on-line' they have all irretrievably disappeared in to the ether?

  • 28.
  • At 05:20 PM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • Max Williams wrote:

I fear we are to be disappointed (Max, Kalvin, Star et al) since no more galleries have been created for a couple of days!! At least Ceri be a "dog" about and declare that no more pictures will be added and put us out of our misery!!

  • 29.
  • At 06:32 PM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • Roseanne Barry-Jones wrote:

I think Mr Williams is right and there are to be no more galleries and no more pictures. There is a tag on the radio 4 homepage reading something like "did your dog make the galleries" which is worrying in its use of the past tense. I fear carrick has Not made the grade. How did you choose who did? Were there just too many of us? At least i know we are not alone. But thanks for all the lovely dogs you did show.

  • 30.
  • At 02:22 PM on 15 Jul 2006,
  • Jonathan wrote:

Our dog used to have its own website but it has since been removed because not enough people looked at it.

  • 31.
  • At 02:47 PM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Zena Churchward wrote:

More pictures please, its been fun reading peoples comments. Still waiting for my photo to appear.

  • 32.
  • At 08:14 PM on 21 Jul 2006,
  • andy mullins wrote:

Why do some dogs get their pictures posted more than once?Albert and Daisey are still miffed at not appearing!On a lighter note its great to see a Sussex Spaniel!

  • 33.
  • At 03:19 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • Susan Milliams wrote:

Just a thought, has anyone a dog called Ceri? If so which breed?

  • 34.
  • At 11:20 PM on 28 Jul 2006,
  • Jill Turquet wrote:

So...I guess we're not on the A List -- or B, C, D, E, F, or G either -- slightly insulting (as the both the subjects and photo are adorable), but I guess we'll just have to get over it!


Henry & Herbert T.
(Cavalier King Charles Spaniels)

P.S. -- Loved looking at fellow 4 legged friends -- some of the pics are great.

Delighted to see you're still carrying the pics of these fellow hounds. I've told so many about the feature.
One of my friends isn't too well - Declan's eyesight issn't too good at the moment. But Dibley's in fine form...

  • 36.
  • At 12:00 AM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Vicky Brinsden wrote:

I find all this dog comment pleasantly surprising since watching your VETS 24/7 programme in the morning informed me that we mistreat or 'lose' up too 50,000 dogs a year and we're not nearly the daft English doggy lovers we all seem to think we are. Its comforting there are still a lot of dog dotty people out there - most upsetting for all those superior BBC intellectuals!!

Good luck to them!

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