Mr. Edward Jesse, keeper of the Queens Park, London, in his " Anecdotes of Bogs," has shown great research and study on this noble animal, which has been trulv stvled " the most faithful friend of man." In the following pages will be found many good things from his work :
A French writer has boldly affirmed, that with the exception of women there is nothing so agreeable, or so necessary to the comfort of man, as the dog. This assertion may readily be disputed, but still it will be allowed that man, deprived of the companionship and services of the clog, would be a solitary and, in many respects, a helpless being. Let us look at the shepherd, as the evening closes in and his flock is dispersed over the almost inaccessible heights of mountains; they are speedily collected by his indefatigable dog—nor do his services end here : he guards either the flock or his masters' cottage by night, and a slight caress, and the coarsest food, satisfy him for all bis trouble. The dog performs the services of a horse in the more northern regions. In the destruction of wild beasts, or the less dangerous stag, or in attacking the bull, the dog has proved himself to possess pre-eminent courage. In many instances he has died in the defence of his master. He has saved him from drowning, warned him of approaching danger, served him faithfully in poverty and distress, and if deprived of sight has gently led him about. When spoken to. be tries to hold a conversation by the movement of his tail or the expression of his eyes. If his master wants amusement in the field or wood, he is delighted to have an opportunity of procuring it for him; if he finds himself in. solitude, bis dog will be a cheerful and agreeable companion, and may be, when death comes, the last to forsake the grave of his beloved master.
There are a thousand little facts connected with dogs, which many, who do not love them as much as we do, may not have observed, but which all tend to devolop their character. For instance, every one knows the fondness of dogs for warmth, and that they never appear more contented than when reposing on the rug before ' a good fire. If, however, we quit the room, our dog leaves his warm berth, and places himself at the door, where he can the better bear our footsteps, and be ready to greet us when we re-enter. If we are preparing to take a walk, our dog is instantly aware of our intention. He frisks and jumps about, and is all eagerness to accompany us. If we are thoughtful or melancholy, he appeal's to sympathise with us; and, on the contrary, when we are disposed to be merry, he shows by his manner that he rejoices with us. We have often watched the effect Which a change in our countenance would produce. If we frown or look severe, but without saving a word or uttering a sound, the effect is instantly seen by the ears dropping, and the eyes showing unhappiness. Before a clog, however, arrives at this knowledge of the human countenance, he must be the companion of your walks, repose at your feet, and receive his food from your hands: treated in this manner, the attachment of the clog is unbounded; be becomes fond, intelligent, and grateful. Whenever Stanislas, the unfortunate King of Poland, wrote to his daughter, he always concluded his letter with these words—"Tristan, my companion in misfortune, licks your feet:" thus showing that he had still one friend who stuck to him in his adversity. Such is the animal whose propensities, instincts, and habits, we propose to illustrate by various anecdotes.
The propensities of the dog, and some of them are most extraordinary, appear to be independent of that instinct which Paley calls, " a propensity previous to experience, and independent of instruction." Some of these are hereditary, or derived from the habits of the parents, and are suited to the purposes to which each breed has long been and is still applied. In fact, their organs have a fitness or unfitness for certain functions without education;—for instance, a very young puppy of the St. Bernard breed of dogs, when taken on snow for the first time, will begin to scratch it with considerable eagerness. We have seen a young Pointer of three or four weeks old stand steadily on first seeing poultry, and a well-bred terrier puppy will show a great deal of ferocity at the sight of a rat or mouse.
Some naturalists have endeavored to trace the origin of the dog from the fox; while others, and some of the most eminent ones, are of opinion that it sprung from the wolf. The former theory is out of the question. The wolf, perhaps, has some claim to be considered as the parent animal, and that he is susceptible of as strong attachment as the dog is proved by the following anecdote, related by Cuvier:
He informs us, that a young wolf was brought up as a dog, became familiar with every person whom he was in the habit of seeing, and in particular, followed his master everywhere, evincing evident chagrin at his absence, obeying his voice, and showing a degree of submission scarcely differing in any respect from that of the domesticated clog. His master, being obliged to be absent for a time, presented his pet to the Menagerie du Roi, where the animal, confined in a den, continued disconsolate, and would scarcely eat his food. At length, however, his health returned, he became attached to his keepers, and appeared to have forgotten all his former affection; when, after an absence of eighteen months, his master returned. At the first word he uttered, the wolf, who had perceived him amongst the crowd, recognized him, and exhibited the most lively joy. On being set at liberty, the most affectionate caresses were lavished on his old master, such as the most attached dog would have shown after an absence of a few days.
A second separation was followed by similar demonstrations of sorrow, which, however, again yielded to time. Three years passed, and the wolf was living happily in company with a dog, which had been placed with him, when his master again returned, and again the long-lost but still-remembered voice was instantly replied to by the most impatient cries, which were redouble 1 as soon as the poor animal was set at liberty ; when rushing to his master, he threw his fore-feet on his shoulders, licking his face with the most lively joy, and menacing his keepers, who offered to remove him, and towards whom, not a moment before, he had been showing every mark of fondness.