‘Sit!’ I told a client’s dog as I used the appropriate hand gesture. The response was instant and the dog, a lurcher, sat obediently. We speak the same language, all be it in sign and with the help of a few bribery biscuits. There was no misenterpretation by either party. Unfortunately misunderstandings seem to happen to me on a regular basis in my daily life. I put it down to hearing but not necessarily listening to what people say to me?! This is something that can’t always be solved with a hand gesture or even a biscuit, however well intentioned! It seems that the more time I spend alone in the company of people’s cherished pets the more out of synch I become with the human race. So if I meet you in the street and you ask me if I’d like to join you for a cup of tea, please don’t be alarmed if I reply `It’s half past three!’

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