A gentleman residing in Denmark, M. De-couick, one of the king's privy councillors, found that he had a remarkable dog. It was the habit of Mr. Decouick to leave Copenhagen on Fridays for Drovengourd, his country seat. If he did not arrive there on the Friday evening, the dog would invariably be found at Copenhagen on Saturday morning, in search of his master. Hydrophobia becoming common, all dogs were shot that were found running about, an exception being made in the case of Mr. Decouick's dog, on account of his sagacity and fidelity, a distinctive mark being placed upon him.
The following anecdotes are from Daniel's " Rural Sports :'"—
Dr. Beattie, in one of his ingenious and elegant essays, relates a story, in his own knowledge, of a gentleman's life being saved, who fell beneath the ice, by his dog's going in quest of assistance, and almost forcibly dragging a farmer to the spot.
Mr. Vaillant describes the losing of a bitch while travelling in Africa, when after firing his gun, and fruitlessly searching for her, he despatched one of his attendants, to return by the way they had proceeded ; when she was found at about two leagues' distance, seated by the side of a chair and basket, which had dropped unperceived from his wagon: an instance of attentive fidelity, which must have proved fatal to the animal, cither from hunger or beasts of prey, had she not been luckily discovered.
As instances of the dog's sagacity, the following are submitted: In crossing the mountain St. Gothard, near Airola, the Chevalier Gaspard de Brandenberg and his servant were buried by an avalanche; his dog, who escaped the heap of snow, did not quit the place where he had lost bis master: this was, fortunately, not far from the convent; the animal howled, ran to the convent frequently, and then returned. Struck by his perseverance, the next morning the people from the house followed him; he led them directly to the spot, scratched the snow, and after thirty-six hours passed beneath it, the chevalier and his domestic were taken out safe, hearing distinctly during their confinement the howling of the dog and the discourse of their deliverers. Sensible that to the sagacity and fondness of this creature he owed his life, the gentleman ordered by his will that he should be represented on his tomb with his dog; and at Zug, in the church of St. Oswald, where he was buried in 1728, they still show the monument and the effigy of this gentleman, with the dog lying at his feet.
Colonel Hutchinson relates the following anecdote :—
(A cousin of one of my brother-officers was taking a walk at Tunbridge Wells, when a strange Newfoundland snatched her parasol from her hand, and carried it off. The lady followed the dog, who kept ahead, constantly looking back to see if she followed. The dog at length stopped at a confectioners, and went in, followed by the lady, who, as the dog would not resign it, applied to the shopman for assistance. He then told her that it was an old trick of the dog's to get a bun, and that if she would give him one he would return the property. She cheerfully did so, and the dog as willingly made the exchange."
The above anecdote proves that dogs are no mean observers of countenances, and that he had satisfied himself by a previous scrutiny as to the probability of his delinquencies being forgiven.
"We will give a laughable philosophical account of dogs, under the supposition of a transmigration of souls, and with their general natural history from Lineus and Buffon, from a facetious believer in the art of distinguishing at the sight of any creature, from what class of animals his soul is derived.
The souls of deceased bailiffs and common constables are in the bodies of setting dogs and Pointers; the terriers are inhabited by trading justices; the bloodhounds were formerly a set of informers, thief-takers, and false evidences; the spaniels were heretofore courtiers, hangers-on of administrations, and hack journal-writers, all of whom preserve their primitive qualities of fawning on their feeders, licking their hands, and snarling and snapping at all who offer to offend their master; a former train of gamblers and black-legs are now embodied in that species of dog called lurchers; bull-dogs and Mastiff were once butchers and drovers; greyhounds and hounds owe their animation to country squires and foxhunters; little whiffling, useless lap-dogs, draw their existence from the quondam beau ; macaronies, and gentlemen of the tippy, still being the playthings of ladies, and used for their diversion. There are also a set of sad dogs derived from attornies; and puppies, who were in past time attornies' clerks, shopmen to retail haberdashers, men-milliners, etc. etc. Turnspits are animated by old aldermen, who still enjoy the smell of the roast meat; that droning, snarling species, styled Dutch pugs, have been fellows of colleges: and that faithful, useful tribe of shepherd's dogs, were, in days of yore, members of parliament, who guarded the flock, and protected the sheep from wolves and thieves, although indeed of late some have turned sheep-biters, and worried those they ought to have defended.
The manner in which the shepherds of the Pyrenees employ their peculiar breed of dogs, which are large, long haired, of a tawny white color, and a very strong build, with a ferocious temper, exhibits a vivid instance of the trust they repose in the courage and fidelity of these animals, and of the virtues by which they merit and reward it. Attended by three or more dogs, the shepherds will take their numerous flocks at early dawn to the part of the mountain side which is destined for their pasture. Having counted them, they descend to follow other occupations, and commit the guardianship of the sheep to the sole watchfulness of the dogs. It has been frequently known, that when wolves have approached, the three sentinels would walk round and round the flock, gradually compressing them into so small a circle that one dog might with ease overlook and protect them, and that this measure of caution being executed, the remaining two would set forth to engage the enemy, over whom, it is said, they invariably triumph.