"Dogs don't make mistakes."Could Sherlock Holmes possibly have believed that dogs don't make mistakes? The canonical evidence is against it.
-- Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place"
Certainly, the spaniel in "Shoscombe Old Place" didn't make a mistake, nor did Professor Presbury's wolfhound in "The Crooked Man," nor did the dog who did nothing in the night-time. And we cannot fault those wonderful tracking dogs, Toby in The Sign of Four and Carlo in Pompey in "The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter."
But what about Jephro Rucastle's Carlo and the unnamed Hound of the Baskervilles? Surely they made mistakes -- they got themselves killed!
And what about Victor Trevor's bull terrier, who froze on Holmes's ankle one morning while he was going down to chapel in college? Wasn't that a mistake?
No, dogs are not infallible. Perhaps Holmes was dyslexic and really meant to say "God doesn't make mistakes."
What do you think?
I will have much more to say in my talk, "Sherlock Holmes Gone to the Dogs: Canine Capers, Canonical and Otherwise," which I will present at the 26th annual Sherlock Holmes/ Arthur Conan Doyle Symposium in Dayton, Ohio, on May 19. I hope to see you there.