Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Dog's Devotion by J.W. Hodge M.D. 1914


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FOR fidelity, sincerity, and whole-hearted devotion to his friends, the dog is superior to all other animals, man not excepted. “How could one get relief from the endless dissimulation, falsity, duplicity and malice of mankind," exclaimed Schopenhauer in one of his inspired moments, “if there were no dogs into whose honest faces he could look without distrust?” The dog who stood over the lifeless body of his prostrate master, grieving for recognition and starting at every flutter of his garments till he himself died of grief, exposure and starvation, had in his faithful canine breast a truer, nobler heart than beats within the bosom of the average man.

History records no example of loyalty greater than that related of “Bobby” of Greyfriars, who for fourteen long and weary years, in all sorts of weather, slept every night on his master's grave. That remarkable exhibition of canine affection and lasting devotion was well worthy of the marble shaft which today stands just outside the entrance to Greyfriars cemetery in Edinburgh to perpetuate the memory of a loving, loyal, unpretentious dog.

The other day I was hastily summoned by telephone to the rescue of a disabled horse which lax helpless upon the street, abandoned by the human wretch to whom he had given his last strength. I at once hurried to the scene of the trouble and found the poor old derelict lying prostrate by the road-side groaning and struggling in great agony.

Near his head sat a sad-eyed, intelligent-looking shepherd dog who watched every movement of his suffering comrade.

When I started to examine the prostrate horse the dog looked inquiringly and barked anxiously into my face as if to ascertain what I intended to do for the relief of the sufferer.

A hasty examination revealed the fact that the poor old feeble wreck, galled, scarred and deformed by hard work and cruel treatment, was dying. I quickly decided to terminate the painracked creature's suffering by giving him a speedy and merciful death, and so I sent a bullet on its errand of mercy. Death ensued almost instantaneously, without a struggle or a groan. Scarcely had the report of my pistol died away and the blood begun to trickle from the bullet wound in the forehead when the shepherd dog, suddenly realizing what had happened to his friend, set up a most pitiful, heart-rending howling.

I learned that the horse and dog had been constant companions for several years and had become much attached to each other. The dog invariably accompanied the horse which was used daily about the city drawing a delivery wagon loaded with groceries.

Neighbors residing near told me that the horse had been lying where I found him during all the preceding night, and that the faithful dog had remained constantly with him. The human wretch who had worked the poor old horse's life away for his own selfish gain, had deserted his faithful servant in distress while the devoted dog remained with him to the last.

From The American Farmer 1883

The great naturalist, Cuvier, regards the domestic dog as “the most useful conquest that man has gained in the animal world." It matters not whether his master be rich or poor, each individual dog defends his person and his goods, tracks him through the crowded street, distinguishes his voice from all others, and remains his faithful servant and companion even unto death; not from constant fear or necessity, but simply from true gratitude and affection. Instances are not uncommon where at the death of his master the dog refuses to be consoled, pines, and finally dies of grief. The dog is also the only animal capable of defending his master against other animals, or enemies of any kind, while he guards his flocks and home, performing the duties of shepherd, drover, sportsman, and protector, remaining at all times his sagacious and faithful friend.

Dedicated to my best friend: Teddy Schmitz. I miss you buddy.

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