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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, November 21, 2014

punky dunk...gets dunked

found at felineaddiction.com.  (PD)
Oh Punky Dunk! Sure the fishies are fascinating...but no good can come of them.  This darling 1912 book can be found in its entirety complete with illustrations here.  Though I cannot find an attribution for the illustrator, whomever it is, they have done a very fine job of creating a memorable kitten. And the sassy fish are a bonus.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

vintage wordless wednesday

from the museum collection

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

benjamin constant's cat

I find I don't know much about early 19th century European political theorists.  When I ran across this simple, sweet anecdote of Benjamin Constant and his favorite pet, I got him mixed up with the painter Benjamin West (who did live about the same time as Constant).  Benjamin Constant was a Swiss-French liberal political thinker who managed to influence a great many nations in their struggles for independence.  How did people manage to do that with nothing more than ink, paper and whatever passed for mail service? 
* * *
Constant had a cat which was so great a pet that she attended him in the morning before he got up, followed him into his study after breakfast, and played and reposed when and where she liked. One day, when he was expected to make an important speech in the Chamber of Deputies, his friends, finding that he was absent after his time from the arena, came to seek him at his house, and going into his study saw him quietly reading some book which had evidently nothing to do with the matter in hand; and when they told him that everybody was waiting, and that they came for him,-—" What can I do?" he asked; "look there! there is my cat sleeping in the sun on the papers I have prepared for my speech, and till she awakens how can I drag her off them?"
-- The Treasury of Wit and Anecdote (London: 1842), p. 283

Monday, November 17, 2014

a portrait - actually two

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings Accessions 1954 London: HMSO, 1963 . PD.  Thanks to the V&A.
The text of the collection entry online at the Victoria and Albert Museum says,
"SHARPE, Charles Kirkpatrick (1781-1851)
Portrait taken on the pier at Leith. [A little girl, full-length, full face, standing with a kitten at her feet]
Signed C Sharpe. Inscribed in ink with title.
Wash. E.1634-1954"
 To me, that's two portraits:  yes,a little girl, but also her kitten must be granted its presence and due.   Both of them are as round as dumplings; the kitten must be one of those straight-up British Shorthairs with a round cobby head and body.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

a pet chicken in war

In the horror and destruction of war, soldiers find a living creature to cherish...but war is war.  This curious poem offers an unvarnished look at what even the oddest mascot means to those on the front lines.


Went to a house in Belgium;
Folks all dead—place on the bum—
All on account of a bloomin' shell;
I tell yah war is jest plain hell.
There was a gal about fourteen year;
To think of her now it brings a tear;
An' right atop of her shinin' hair
A little pet chicken a-nestlin' there.
We tuck 'im back to make us a fry,
When somebuddy said: "Don't kill 'im, le's try
To feed an' keep 'im an' make 'im our pet."
An' that's jest what we done, you bet!
That dern little chicken, ef you'll b'lieve me,
Jest loved a fight the same as we;
Follyed us everywhere, ev'ry minute;
Wasn't a scrap that he wasn't in it;
Tell one foggy day we'd been plantin' mines,
An' got way inter the inemy's lines,
An' started back, we heard a squawk
Like a chicken makes when it sees a hawk;
An' there on the ground was a red hot wire,
A snaky line o' livin' fire.
Burned to a crisp was our little pet chicken!
Think of it now an' it makes me sicken.
We flattened out an' the bullets went over,
The current went off an' we crawled back to cover.
An' some of us cussed an' a few of us cried
When we thought how our little pet chicken died.

Dora Nelson, A Farm in Picardy (Cornhill Company, 1919) pp. 33-4

Saturday, November 15, 2014

old footage: mother dog nurses tiger cub

thanks publicdomainfootage on youtube

Leiden, Holland, decades back: another dog nurses cub story.  Watching this, though I'm moved by the dog mom's instincts, I can't help but feel anguish for the mother tiger:  seriously, in what kind of horrible cage were you people sticking her?  (I realize that tiny cage in the clip is probably just a holding tank, but in that day ordinary zoos were no better.)  

Friday, November 14, 2014

dog vase 1875 or so

Chelsea Keramic Art Works. Vase, 1875-1880. Glazed earthenware, 8 x 6 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (20.3 x 16.5 x 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Charles Messer Stow, 53.257.2. Creative Commons-BY
This 1875-80 vase by designer Hugh C. Robinson for Chelsea Keramic Art Works is actually blue.  I'm glad the image is in black and white though, because it points up the high quality of the relief figure.  It's a solid furry dog in the long grass - mouse hunting perhaps?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

illuminated snuggle

Valenciennes 16th century. Douai, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 109, fol. 1r.  thanks discardingimages.tumblr.com
The day job's been keeping me from posting as actively as I generally do, and at night I find myself headed home good for little more than cat snuggles...a tendency common to many species, it seems.  Here's  a winsome pair from 1500s France.