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Dog Stories from the "Spectator"

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by F.W.K., Oct 26, 2019.

  1. F.W.K.

    F.W.K. Top Dog

    [Aug. 29, 1874.]

    I see that you welcome all notes of interest upon our fellow-beings, the dogs. Here is one that seems to prove they have a sense of time and of distance as measured by time.

    I was walking with my bull-terrier, Bully (seven years old last Christmas), during a hot afternoon this month homewards along the Bund (Shanghai), and I suddenly missed him. I turned back for twenty or thirty yards, and, not finding him, I gave up the search, saying, "He knows the way home well enough." Presently I saw him on my right, dripping with water, cantering on at a round pace, without looking about him, homewards. I watched him, curious to see whether he would go straight home. No. He kept on till he reached the distance of about 150 yards, and looked ahead, not smelling the ground. He then deliberately walked back, catching sight of me in about twenty yards after his turning back, and wagged his tale recognisingly. He had evidently been to cool himself in the river (thirty yards to the right, it being low tide), and, thinking I would go on at the ordinary pace without him, he, after his bath, struck directly at a long diagonal for the point I would have reached if I had not turned back to look for him. He did not seem to have the slightest misgiving as to his sense of the distance I ought to have walked during the time of his bath. His turning was done seemingly with a calm assurance of certainty. I may add that there were twenty to thirty foot-passengers scattered over the portion of road in question at the time, whose footsteps might have effaced my scent on the watered granite macadamised roadway, even supposing the dog to have tried his sense of smell, which he did not, as far as I could see, and I noticed him carefully.

    W. G. S.

    [June 26, 1875.]

    Dr. Walter F. Atlee writes to the editor of the Philadelphia Medical Times:—

    "In a letter recently received from Lancaster, where my father resides, it is said:—'A queer thing occurred just now. Father was in the office, and heard a dog yelping outside the door; he paid no attention until a second and louder yelp was heard, when he opened it, and found a little brown dog standing on the step upon three legs. He brought him in, and on examining the fourth leg, found a pin sticking in it. He drew out the pin, and the dog ran away again.' The office of my father, Dr. Atlee, is not directly on the street, but stands back, having in front of it some six feet of stone wall with a gate. I will add, that it has not been possible to discover anything more about this dog.

    "This story reminds me of something similar that occurred to me while studying medicine in this same office nearly thirty years ago. A man, named Cosgrove, the keeper of a low tavern near the railroad station, had his arm broken, and came many times to the office to have the dressings arranged. He was always accompanied by a large, most ferocious-looking bull-dog, that watched me most attentively, and most unpleasantly to me, while bandaging his master's arm. A few weeks after Cosgrove's case was discharged, I heard a noise at the office door, as if some animal was pawing it, and on opening it, saw there this huge bull-dog, accompanied by another dog that held up one of its front legs, evidently broken. They entered the office. I cut several pieces of wood, and fastened them firmly to the leg with adhesive plaster, after straightening the limb. They left immediately. The dog that came with Cosgrove's dog I never saw before nor since."

    Do not these stories adequately show that the dogs reasoned and drew new inferences from a new experience?
    bamaman, Soze the killer and stedz like this.

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