About Me

My photo
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 !

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

two dog anecdotes from scotland

Mr. Smellie (honestly, that's the name - Curator), in his "Philosophy of Natural History," mentions a curious instance of the intellectual faculty of a dog. He states that "a grocer in Edinburgh had one which for some time amused and astonished the people in the neighbourhood. A man who went through the streets ringing a bell and selling pies, happened one day to treat this dog with a pie. The next time he heard the pieman's bell he ran impetuously toward him, seized him by the coat, and would not suffer him to pass. The pieman, who understood what the animal wanted, showed him a penny, and pointed to his master, who stood at the street-door, and saw what was going on. The dog immediately supplicated his master by many humble gestures and looks, and on receiving a penny he instantly carried it in his mouth to the pieman, and received his pie. This traffic between the pieman and the grocer's dog continued to be daily practised for several months."

(I would have loved to see a dog buying its supper. How could you resist giving it a penny for a pie?)
* * *

During a very severe frost and fall of snow in Scotland, the fowls did not make their appearance at the hour when they usually retired to roost, and no one knew what had become of them ; the house-dog at last entered the kitchen, having in his mouth a hen, apparently dead. Forcing his way to the fire, the sagacious animal laid his charge down upon the warm hearth, and immediately set off. He soon came again with another, which he deposited in the same place, and so continued till the whole of the poor birds were rescued. Wandering about the stack-yard, the fowls had become quite benumbed by the extreme cold, and had crowded together, when the dog observing them, effected their deliverance, for they all revived by the warmth of the fire.

-- From Edward Jesse, Anecdotes of Dogs (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1858), pps. 17 - 19.


parlance said...

Oh, I have to track down this book! Did you find an extract, or did you come across the book?

curator said...

Hi Parlance,

Actually, I found it on Google Books. Drop me a line if you can't find it, I'll help.