Faithful Friends by X.

THE dog has sometimes been called the “friend of man.” This is because, of all animals, it is the one whose attachment to mankind is purely personal. It is found in almost every part of the world, sharing every variation of climate and outward lot with the human race. There are only a few groups of islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean where this valuable creature is wanting. Without its aid, how could men have procured sustenance among tribes to whom the art of tilling the land was not known? or how could they have resisted the attacks of the beasts of prey that roamed in the forests around them?

Anecdotes of dogs, when they are well attested, are always welcome; and I will therefore relate a few.

There were some time ago two families, one living in London, the other at Guildford, seventeen miles distant. These families were very friendly with each other, and for several years it was the custom of the one residing in London to pass the Christmas with the one at Guildford. It was the visitors’ uniform practice to arrive to dinner the day before Christmas day; and they were accompanied by a large spaniel, which was a great favorite with both families.

These visits were thus regularly paid  for seven years. At the end of that time an unfortunate misunderstanding between the friends caused the usual Christmas invitation from the country to be omitted. About an hour before dinner, on the day before Christmas day, the Guildford gentleman, who was standing at his window, exclaimed to his wife,—

“Well, my dear, the ——s have thought better of it. I declare they are coming as usual, though we did not invite them; here comes Cæsar to announce them.”

Sure enough, the dog came trotting up to the door, and was admitted, as he had often been before, to the parlor. The lady of the house gave orders to prepare beds; dinner waited an hour; but no guests arrived.

Cæsar, after staying the exact number of days to which he had been accustomed, one morning set off for home, and reached it in safety. The correspondence which this visit of the favorite spaniel occasioned, had the happy effect of renewing the intercourse of the estranged friends. As long as Cæsar lived, he paid the annual visit, in company with his master and mistress, to Guildford.

“A Frenchman named Chabert, who, from his wonderful performances with fire, was known as the ‘Fire King,’ was the owner of a very beautiful Siberian dog, which, when yoked to a light carriage, used to draw him twenty miles a day. Chabert sold him for nearly two hundred pounds; for the creature was as docile as he was beautiful. Between the sale and the delivery, the dog happened to get his leg broken. Chabert, to whom the money was of great importance, was almost in despair, expecting that the lamed animal would be returned, and the price demanded back. He took the dog by night to a veterinary surgeon, and formally introduced them to each other.

“‘Doctor, my dog; my dog, your doctor.’

“He next talked to the dog, pointed to his own leg, limped around the room, and then requested the surgeon to apply bandages to his leg; after which he walked about the room sound and well. Chabert then patted the dog on the head, who was looking by turns at him and the surgeon; desired the surgeon to pat him, and to offer him his hand to lick; and lastly, holding up his finger to the dog, and gently shaking his head, quitted the room and the house. The dog immediately laid himself down, submitted to have the fracture set, and to have a bandage put on the limb, without a motion beyond once or twice licking the operator’s hand. He was afterwards submissive, and lay all but motionless day after day, until, at the end of a month, the limb was sound and whole once more. So perfect was the cure, that the purchaser never knew the dog had sustained any injury.”

I will finish my paper with a story of a dog that saved the life of a French soldier who was wounded in one of the terrible battles that have been lately fought in France:—

“The man had been struck by a ball in the chest, near the village of Ham, and lay on the ground for six hours after the fighting was over. He had not lost consciousness; but the blood was flowing freely, and he was gradually getting weaker and weaker. There were none but the dead near him; and his only living companion was an English terrier, which ran restlessly about him, with his master’s kepi, or military cap, in his mouth.

“At last the dog set off at a trot; and the wounded soldier made sure that now his last friend had deserted him. The night grew dark, the cold was intense, and he had not even the strength to touch his wounds, which every instant grew more and more painful.

The terrier, carrying a kepi, tries to get help for his master

“At length his limbs grew cold, and, feeling a sickly faintness steal upon him,  he gave up all hope of life, and recommended himself to the mercy of God. Suddenly he heard a bark, which he knew belonged to only one little dog in the world, then felt something lick his face, and saw the glare of lanterns. The dog had wandered for miles till he arrived at a road-side cabaret, or country wine-shop. The people had heard the cannonading all day, and seeing the kepi in the dog’s mouth, and noticing his restless movements, decided to follow him. He took them straight to the spot—too straight for a little cart they had brought with them to cross fields and hedges—but just in time. When the friendly help arrived, the man fainted; but he was saved. There were honest tears in the man’s eyes when he was telling me,” says the narrator; “and I fully believed him. The dog, too, had been slightly touched in the leg by a ball in the same battle, and has since been lame. He got him, when a puppy, from an English sailor at Dunkirk, and called him ‘Beel;’ very probably the French for Bill.”

This little terrier showed something more than instinct—some share, at least, of common sense. At all events, he deserves to be immortalized; so here you have his portrait, with the cap in his mouth, begging the people whom he has found in the way-side inn to come to the help of his wounded master.