Keeping an eye on pets and work colleagues

PUBLISHED: 12:52 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:26 05 May 2010

QUITE often, this column spotlights the results of what may be considered quirky research. This time, for a change, it is pointing out to readers that they have the chance to take part in a sinister survey. Why the people conducting it want to spend part

QUITE often, this column spotlights the results of what may be considered quirky research.

This time, for a change, it is pointing out to readers that they have the chance to take part in a sinister survey.

Why the people conducting it want to spend part of their lives looking into the subject is beyond me, but you may find it interesting.

As a way of attracting attention, they point out that famous celebrity left-handers include Angelina Jolie, Barack Obama and Sir Paul McCartney. And me, but they don't include my name in their list.

Us lefties do feel special because only around 10 per cent of the human population are said to favour that hand.

So what do these curious folk want to know about left-handedness which we don't know already?

When it is realised that an online poll is being conducted by leading veterinary charity the PDSA the penny begins to drop.

Forget about humans, they want to discover how many of the nation's pooches and moggies might be left handed.

As you probably know, there is evidence of "handedness" - preferring one side of the body to the other for some tasks - in chimps, walruses and crows, according to the charity's senior veterinary surgeon who reasons that it is plausible the same could be true of our pets.

So the hunt is on for proof. People are invited to keep a close eye on their dogs and cats and report on what paw they use to play with their toys, or if they use one paw more than another when grooming.

I suppose it makes a change from watching soaps on the TV - but I don't do that anyway and I certainly won't be wasting the lead in my reporter's pencil to note the habits of canines and felines.

I never realised what a suspect bunch my work colleagues are until I read the results of a survey out this week.

I say "my" but I should really say one's colleagues. Several thousand British workers were questioned and some of their admissions are shocking.

In the East of England, nearly four out of 10 said their colleagues take credit for other's people's work (oh, yes, that is too true, I hear you cry) and almost as many let others take the blame for their own mistakes.

Five per cent have stolen a toilet roll from the company's loos and 13 per cent admitted pinching a colleague's stationery.

Fourteen per cent have caught fellow workers sampling other people's food from the office fridge. Twelve per cent complained that their cheapskate colleagues dodge work whip-rounds by conveniently "forgetting" their wallets.

Almost a fifth said their co-workers' anti-social office behaviour had made work a less enjoyable place to be. And a quarter claimed to have had to work late due to a colleague not pulling their weight.

Overall, it paints such a gloomy picture of the working environment that it makes one hanker after working from home. Then you would only have the left-handed dog to distract you.

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