Four things you should know this morning

IT’S never too early to learn something new like which government employees were treated to a therapy session with dogs and which army enrolled a bear.

Wojtek was a brown bear and spent his final years at Edinburgh Zoo

Scotland’s most popular museum

It’s no surprise that the National Museum of Scotland in the countries capital is the most popular museum in the country. It is not only the most popular museum, but now the country’s most visited cultural landmark, with 1,639,509 visitors last year - even beating out Edinburgh Castle.

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The museum was merged in 2006 with the Museum of Scotland and Royal Museum, the National Museum of Scotland, with major upgrades taking place in the technology section.

A bear was part of the Polish army

Wojtek the bear was one of the most intimidating members of the Polish army. At 8ft tall he headed into parts of the frontline where even the most hardened squaddie would not dare tread, transporting vital artillery boxes to his grateful comrades. He enjoyed a beer and a ciggie as much as anyone, but in battle he was focused, reliable and, above all, incredibly brave.

Wojtek would eventually end up in Edinburgh zoo.

Local artist is painting portraits of Edinburgh’s Big Issue sellers

Karen Bates has captured the images of local Big Issue sellers in a series of 49 paintings. This began when Big Issue employee Rebecca Pringle won a portrait in a charity raffle. She contacted Ms Bates and asked if she would be willing to paint a series of portraits of Big Issue sellers instead.

Tax workers get stress dogs

As part of a stress-busting trial, employees of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) were treated to a one off visit from a border collie and a golden retriever from the charity Canine Concern Scotland Trust (CCST).

The charity has been running since 1988 and believes that interaction with dogs can reduce stress.

HMRC, which had the self-assessment advertising line “Tax doesn’t have to be taxing”, is thought to be the first government agency in Scotland to try the therapet idea. It was piloted at Edinburgh University in 2013 and in September Queen Margaret University gained its own resident therapet – a labradoodle named Rocco.