Bill KirbyOnline news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Are dogs right- or left-pawed?

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My motto is: Contented with little but wishing for more.

– Charles Lamb

During the holiday season, people sent me pictures of their dogs, stories about their dogs and questions about their dogs, including this one: Like people, can dogs be right- or left-handed?

“You should write about that,” a reader suggested, “because I don’t know the answer.”

Well, I didn’t either, but I reviewed the research into this puzzling issue of our times and found that … yes, some pets favor their right paws and some their left.

According to the Washington Post archives, a 2006 study from the University of Manchester in England showed dogs are about half “right pawed” and half “left pawed.”

A 1991 study in Turkey showed cats had about the same even split.

How do you tell?

• If your dog “shakes hands,” which paw does it offer most often?

• Put something sticky (they suggest peanut butter) on a dog or cat’s nose. Which paw removes it?

• Put a treat just beyond reach under a sofa. Which paw does it use to get it?

OBSERVATIONS: Bill Wood says you know we’re in trouble when:

• You can get arrested for expired tags on your car but not for being in the country illegally.

• Your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more of our money.

• The Supreme Court of the United States can rule that lower courts cannot display the 10 Commandments in their courtroom, while sitting in front of a display of the 10 Commandments.

YOUR MAIL: Ernest and Martha Odum, of Evans, sent a postcard from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., from a First Baptist Seniors Group visit. Penny and Chuck Ballas were in New York, which they say is a “glorious” place to be this time of year. They say they got to visit a great-grandchild, too.

TODAY’S JOKE: One last seasonal joke from Billy Cooper, of North Augusta.

On Christmas Eve, Nathan thought it would be nice to buy his wife a little gift for the next day. Always short of money, he thought long and hard about what that present might be.

Unable to decide, Nathan entered a department store and in the cosmetics section he asked the girl, “How about some perfume?” She showed him a bottle costing $150.

“Too expensive,” he said.

The young lady returned with a smaller bottle for $50.

“Oh dear,” he groused, “Still far too much.”

Growing rather annoyed, the girl brought out a tiny $10 bottle and offered it to him. Nathan became really agitated.

“What I mean,” he whined, “is I’d like to see something really cheap.”

So the sales girl handed him a mirror.

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