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Here’s why dogs rule literature — but cats run the Web

It should come as no surprise that, at any given moment, life's eternal battles -- Country vs. City, Man vs. Woman, Mac vs. PC, and above all, Cats vs. Dogs -- command the attention of multiple thinkers. Still, I was startled last weekend to read Daniel Engber's article for Slate, in which he observes that, while cats rule the Internet, dogs dominate the realm of print books. I had just been pondering the very same point!

Rereading Scott O'Dell's "The Island of the Blue Dolphins" (every bit as great as you remember it being) for a book group, I'd loved the main character's dog, Rontu. Rontu, in turn, reminded me of several other notable literary canines, particularly the intrepid fox terrier, Montmorency, from Jerome K. Jerome's comic classic, "Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)." Why, I wondered, are dogs more endearing and amusing in novels while cats claim precedence in Web videos, captioned photos and GIFs?

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