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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 !

Monday, January 14, 2013

on the suckling of dogs in naples

Suckling Dogs.—" If the Neapolitans bury Protestant Christians like dogs, they make some singular compensations, we will confess, by nursing dogs like Christians. A very veracious man informed me yesterday, that his poor wife was half broken-hearted, at hearing such a.countess's dog was run over. 'For, (said he,) having suckled the pretty creature herself, she loved it like one of her children.' 1 bid him repeat the circumstance, that no mistake might be made: he did so; but seeing me look shocked, or ashamed, or something he did not like: 'Why, madam,' said the fellow, 'it is a common thing enough for ordinary men's wives to suckle the lap-dogs of ladies of quality:' adding, that they were paid for their milk, and he saw no harm in gratifying one's superiors. As I was disposed to see nothing but harm in disputing with such a competitor, our conference finished soon;but the fact is certain." (Piozzi's Tour, vol. ii. p. 57.)

--Excerpted in The Recreative review, or Eccentricities of Literature and Life, vol. 2 (London: J. Wallis, 1822), p. 518.  As to the comment about burying "Protestant Christians like dogs," this opinion betrays some British prejudice of the time, obviously, and is illuminated on p. 264: 
"Funereal rites have from time immemorial occupied the attention of mankind ; and this reminds us of the remark which foreigners make of the English, that all they think about, is that of being buried decently. There is some truth in it; but that luxury is denied to us abroad, particularly in Italy, where our heretical bones must not pollute those of catholics, (us Christians, as they call themselves,) but within twentyfour hours after a protestant's death, he is shovelled into a hole like a dog. Those, therefore, who travel, should make their last stage at Leghorn, where we have a churchyard of our own, and are not treated like brutes, after having spent our money among them like princes."


parlance said...

That's a super interesting post. I wonder if it was true? My understanding is that these days people don't feed cow's milk to dogs (I don't feed any kind of milk) but I wonder if human milk would be fine?

parlance said...

Thanks for the comment on my find of the conversation about suckling animals. I thought I'd come over here and repeat what I replied on my own blog:

curator, I loved your post about the women in Naples. It was so interesting to read the tone of polite disgust in the person reporting it. I guess we've lost our connection to the rest of our planet's species. It's okay for us to suckle (at a distance) from cows, by stealing their babies and then stealing their milk, but it's not okay for us to return the favor to our pets.

curator said...

Parlance, thanks for the engagement and thoughtful comment. I also was interested by the various undertones of the piece, and I'm hoping everyone who reads it is equally intrigued.