From a book of improving thoughts upon the various animals, written by Caroline Bray and published in 1871:
* * *The dog is of too fine a nature to be content with being fed and sheltered and combed and brushed. He must be made happy in his mind. For there is no doubt the dog has in some degree a mind and a conscience, as well as a loving disposition. He knows when he has done wrong, and slinks away with his tail between his legs, from shame, and not always from only the fear of a beating; and when he has done right he wags his tail and comes boldly capering up for the reward of only a caress or look of approval. He sees by his master's eye in a moment if he is pleased or angry with him, and cannot bear even to be laughed at. And even if he has been unjustly punished he bears no malice, but licks the hand that cruelly struck him, and is grateful for being again taken into favour.
We ought to be very careful, therefore, not to be unjust to a dog. While we make him feel that he has a master and that he must obey, we must take great care not to be harsh with our dog when he is not conscious of having done wrong, but has perhaps only been following some of his natural instincts.
We have often too much reason to blush before the honest creature who looks up in our face with such trust and reverence, as if we were something to be worshipped. We may well ask ourselves, Do we merit his worship? is our nature so true and guileless as his? are we so ready to forgive injuries, or so faithful in doing our duty?
- Our Duty to Animals, Caroline Bray (London: S.W. Partridge & Co., 1871), pp. 109-10. Caroline Bray, also known as Cara, was a close friend of George Eliot's.