There are very few areas where emotions and traditional attitudes clash as spectacularly as in how we treat animals.
Some of us regard them as almost human, almost on a par with our neighbours and friends.
Others have a more Old Testament attitude and regard all animals as something to be used for man’s benefit though this view is ever-more tempered by what is acceptable or not in how we treat, or mistreat, animals.
Those whose lives are transformed by a working dog, whether they are blind or a family with an autistic child, have an unambiguous and positive attitude to their companion animal.
And so they should.
The boundaries of what can be achieved by companion animals or by working in partnership with dogs is being extended almost by the day.
There is growing evidence that working dogs can help doctors or scientists to find innovative solutions to health problems.
Practitioners are finding roles for working dogs in the areas from cancer, epilepsy and diabetes, to autism and visual impairment.
As is always the case when great advances like these are flagged it is very important to have an open mind but it is also important to have the confidence to be a tad sceptical until a case is proven.
However, we should remember, especially as the Christmas puppy market gets into full swing, that a Jack Russell need not be a brain surgeon to be treated properly.