A blast from the past!

A friend from long ago writes of his dog!

Too many years ago, indeed when I had my own company back in the late 70s, I came in contact with Keith Edmunds. He was a Linux expert; still is!  He runs a company in the U.K., Tiger Computing, based in Monmouthshire.

The other day Keith posted a story about his dog and I asked for permission to republish. Keith very quickly said “Yes”. He added: “With a link to https://www.tiger-computing.co.uk/not-clever/, yes.”

Here it is:



My wife is deaf. She caught meningitis when she was four years old, and one of the side effects can be deafness.

But this isn’t a sob story. It’s a joyful story of a chocolate brown Labrador called Rhys. My wife’s hearing dog.

People often ask what he can do. Well, he alerts Cecilia to the doorbell ringing, the kitchen timer going off, voice commands to “fetch mum” and the smoke alarm.

Some people ask whether he responds to the phone. But the answer is no. Cecilia can’t use the phone (she’s deaf); Rhys can’t use the phone (he’s a dog – he can’t speak). Between them you’d think they’d be able to come up with some kind of plan…but nothing so far.

“He’s very clever!,” people say. But really he’s not. I have, in moments of disrespect, mentioned that if he had an IQ one point higher he’d be a tomato.

You see we mustn’t confuse “highly trained” with “clever”.

Yes, Rhys has learnt how to respond to certain triggers. “If this happens, then do that” – It’s very basic.

If the smoke alarm sounds, then find Cecilia, nudge her, lie down and get a treat.

He doesn’t do it because he’s smart enough to know that the smoke alarm means danger. No. That would be clever.

He does it simply because he’ll get a treat for doing this task. He is a Labrador after all…

Clever is the ability to devise or select an appropriate solution to a problem. Clever – at least in adults – is a combination of intelligence, knowledge and experience.

If we apply this to business, then clever might be knowledge and experience in your domain. Right now, a lot of clever people are investigating a little virus called SARS-CoV-2 (the cause of COVID-19).

But clever can also mean knowing when to pull in the experts.

I’m no expert on immunology or virology so I’m leaving the SARS-CoV-2 problem to the talented (and knowledgeable, experienced and intelligent) bio-scientists.

Rhys is leaving the intellectual challenge of pretty much everything to others.

But I am quite clever when it comes to Linux, so if you need a little help with that then be sure to let me know…


P.S. If you’ve got a question about how to best use Linux in your business, book a free, 30 minute, no obligation Linux Strategy Call and let’s talk about it.


Rhys is a lovely looking Labrador! Highly trained, of course. But some, including me, would also say clever!

What a beautiful dog!

6 thoughts on “A blast from the past!

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. Glad I caught this one. He’s correct about the difference between well trained and clever. It’s like doing what you get paid to do rather than figuring out what needs doing and just doing it. Some animals figure out there is a problem and proceed to figure ways to solve it. I was happy to read something with humor in it today. Hope you are all staying well.


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