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ATTACHMENTS OF ANIMALS.
EDWARD JESSE. Few facts and circumstances in natural history are more pleasing, than those which illustrate the attachment that animals show to each other, or to those of the human race who are kind to them.
Every sportsman knows that the common woodpigeon (the ringdove) is one of the shiest birds we have; and so wild, that it is very difficult indeed to get within shot of it. This wild bird, however, has been known to lay aside its usual habits. In the spring of 1839, some village boys brought two young woodpigeons taken from the nest to the parsonage house of a clergyman in Gloucestershire, from whom I received the following anecdote. “They were bought from the boys merely to save their lives, and sent to an old woman near the parsonage to be bred up. She took great care of them, feeding them with peas, of which they are very fond. One of them died, but the other grew up, and was a fine bird. Its wings had not been cut; and as soon as it could fly, it was set at liberty. Such, however, was its recollection of the kindness it had received, that it would never quite leave the place. It would fly to great distances, and even associate with others of its own kind; but it never failed to come to the house twice a day to be fed. The peas were placed for it in the kitchen window. If the window was shut, it would tap with its beak till it was opened, then come in, eat its meal, and fly off again. If by any accident it could not then gain admittance, it would wait somewhere near, till the cook came out, when it would pitch on her shoulder, and go with her into the kitchen. What made this more extraordinary was, that the cook had not bred the bird up, and the old woman's cottage was at a little distance; but as she had no peas left, it came to the parsonage to be fed.
“ This went on for some time, but the poor bird,
having lost its fear of man, was exposed to constant danger from those who did not know it. It experienced the fate of most pets. A stranger saw it quietly sitting on a tree, and shot it, to the great regret of all its former friends.”
One cold frosty spring morning, a lamb, apparently dead, was brought into the kitchen of a gentleman in Nottinghamshire by his farming man. On being placed near the fire it revived, and eventually lived, and became a great pet in the family. It had the run of the house ; took its walks with any of the members of the family; and, if a visit was paid, it would remain very quietly at the door till it was over. It was gentle and amiable, with one exception; it was of so jealous a disposition, that it could never tolerate any mark of favour shown to any other fourfooted creature; an instance of which I will give in the words of my correspondent:
"We had a remarkably ugly, half-starved, pointerdog sent to us. He had a propensity to run away, and therefore was kept tied up. He was so ill-favoured, and so awkward and disagreeable in his habits and manners, that he was universally disliked, and, I fear, neglected. There was one beloved one of our family, who was always the friend of the friendless. The same kind and generous feeling which led her to seek out misery and relieve it, prompted her to notice this forlorn, neglected animal. She would carry him food, undo his chain, and run up and down the green with him till she was tired, and would then sit down upon the grass, out of breath and weary. This was the time for the pet lamb to show his jealousy. He would run at them with his head, try to trample on them, and never rest till the dog was tied up again, when he appeared perfectly satisfied.
“When the lamb was grown up, circumstances obliged us to change our residence. In removing to another house, the pet was left behind, under the care of a woman who had charge of the house. On missing
its old friends, it went everywhere in search of them, and stood before the doors of the rooms in which it had been in the habit of finding us. It bleated most piteously; and at last went upstairs, and laid itself down at my bed-room door, as it had been accustomed to do before I was up in the morning. When the door was opened and it saw the empty room, it renewed its lamentations, and this it continued to do all the day. It ate nothing, and did nothing but moan and cry. Sometimes it would run about, as if a sudden thought had struck it, and a new hope had sprung up; and when it found it was a vain hope, and that it could not find us, it refused all food. Its bleatings were fainter and fainter,-it looked ill, its eyes grew dim,
and soon afterwards it died.”
Affection will, indeed, overcome the strongest impulses of nature in animals. Thus a tame doe has been known to swim a river, in order to follow a person who has treated it with kindness. And there are numerous instances, besides the one already related, of animals having refused food, and dying, when the hand which had fed and caressed them was no. longer to be met with.
An Arabian horse was sent in 1841 to Her Majesty, and was safely left at the royal stables by a man who had the charge of it. After delivering up the horse, he set off for Liverpool, in order to return to his own country. From the moment, however, of his departure, the horse refused to eat, and showed every symptom of misery. The cause of this was soon suspected, and the man was sent for from Liverpool. On his arriving at the mews, the poor animal showed the utmost joy and affection, and soon began to feed as usual. The care and kindness of the man was thus repaid by the noble animal with gratitude and love.
A ship recently foundered in a gale of wind, near Liverpool, and every soul perished. I have been assured that a Newfoundland dog was seen swimming near the place where the ship was lost, and at last came
to the shore quite exhausted. He continued to do this for three days, swimming to the same spot, evidently in search of the body of his master.
The following instance of kindness and affection in a dog recently took place in the neighbourhood of Windsor. It is so well authenticated, and affords so strong a proof of the kindly feeling of one animal towards another, that I have much pleasure in recording it.
A schoolmaster had a small dog, which became much attached to a kitten. They were in the habit of associating together before the kitchen fire, sometimes sleeping, and sometimes playing. One day they were enjoying a comfortable nap, when the kettle boiled over and scalded the dog, who ran away, howling piteously. He had not gone very far, however, before he recollected his companion; he returned immediately, took up the kitten in his mouth, and carried it to a place of safety.
Dogs soon become aware of any misfortune in the family to which they belong, and show their sympathy in a variety of ways. Sometimes they lose their usual eagerness for food. At others they seem listless and unhappy, and their nature appears to have undergone some alteration. A lady in Lincolnshire died, who had two favourite dogs. They were of the mastiff breed, occasionally very savage, and much dreaded in consequence by every one. On the death of their mistress, the wife of the clergyman of the parish went to see if she could be of any service to the other members of the family. After ringing at the bell and finding that no one answered it, she went, in great alarm for fear of the dogs, to the back door, which she found open. Entering the kitchen, and seeing the two dogs, she was about to retire, but the animals merely raised their heads, and laid them down again, without even uttering a growl, and she therefore proceeded. When the deceased was carried to the church-yard, one of the dogs followed the corpse, and neither threats por entreaties could drive it away,
Pope tells us that the chief order of Denmark was instituted in memory of the fidelity of a dog, named Wild-brat, to one of their kings, who had been deserted by his subjects. He gave his new order this motto,-“ Wild-brat was faithful.”
A poor woman in the north of England was in the habit of going about from one village to another, selling different little things for a livelihood, and was generally accompanied by a small dog. When at home, the dog usually slept with the woman's child in a cradle, and was much attached to it. The child fell ill and died, and although the mother lived at Hawkshead, the infant was buried at Staveley. From distress of mind at the time, the poor woman took little notice of the dog, but soon after the funeral it was missed, nor could any tidings be heard of it for a fortnight. When her wanderings were resumed, the mother happened to pass through Staveley, and with a mother's feelings went to take a mournful look at her child's grave. On going to it, she found to her great astonishment her lost dog. It was lying in a deep hole which it had scratched for itself over the child's grave, probably hoping to get a little nearer to the object of its affection. It was in an emaciated state from hunger, but neither hunger, cold, nor privation had overcome its love, nor diminished the force of its attachment.
The following is an instance of the good sense of a dog. A gentleman, whose usual place of residence is in the Island of Anglesea, came to London and brought a little terrier dog with him. It was his companion night and day through the crowded streets of the metropolis. Upon one occasion he had some business to transact at the bank of Messrs. Drummonds, and during the time he was there the dog lay at his feet by the side of the counter. In the course of his further walk, it was lost, but its master on returning to Messrs. Drummonds' found the dog there, on the same spot it had previously occupied, it being the only