Great British bark-off: my Dog Slot show was a forerunner of Dog TV

Reading Tim Dowling (We are way past peak puppy – it’s time to end the great British dog obsession, 22 November ) took me back to 1973, when I was launching a small local cable TV station, Bristol Channel. To grab some publicity, in the Sunday evening “God slot”, I launched Dog Slot, a programme for and by pets. My family’s border terrier, Jenny, was the inspiration: she was a TV addict. We attracted press coverage, and a research assistant of Umberto Eco wrote from Bologna to ask if we had any data on audience response. Barks and miaows had not been recorded, I answered, but humans reported considerable pet interest.Peter LewisKentish Town, London Tim Dowling needs to read the pragmatist philosopher William James to understand why people love dogs. As we can’t be certain what dogs are thinking, we have a “right to believe” they are emotionally intelligent, offer support in difficult times, and like Dog TV. Since this belief is useful in the lives of those of us who love dogs, we have good reason to regard it as true. I shall be upgrading Molly’s phone for Christmas. Prof Michael C JacksonBeverley, Yorkshire

Keep Your Gum & Candy Stored Away. Many gums & candies include xylitol, a sugar substitute that’s highly toxic and can be fatal to dogs. Keep all candies and gum far out of reach of your pets at all times. Here’s a list of common household items that are known to contain xylitol.