Monday, April 11, 2016

Caniche the Dog Detective by Shirley Hibberd - 1868

CANICHE, THE DOG DETECTIVE by Shirley Hibberd - 1868 (A True Story)

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M. Dumont, a tradesman of Rue St. Denis, Paris, told a friend that if he were to hide a six-livre piece in the dust, his dog would discover and bring it to him. The piece of money was secreted, after being carefully marked. When they had proceeded some distance from the spot, M. Dumont called to his dog that he had lost something, and ordered him to seek it. Caniche immediately turned back, while his master and his companion pursued their walk to the Rue St. Denis. Meanwhile a traveller, who happened to be just then returning in a small chaise from Vincennes, perceived the piece of money, which his horse had kicked from its hiding-place; he alighted, took it up, and drove to his inn in Rue Pont aux Choux, and Caniche had just reached the spot in search of the lost piece when the stranger picked it up. He followed the chaise, went into the inn, and stuck close to the traveller. Having scented out the coin, which he had been ordered to bring back, in the pocket of the latter, he leaped up incessantly at and about him. The gentleman, supposing him to be some dog that had been lost or left behind by his master, regarded his different movements as a mark of fondness; and as the animal was handsome, he determined to keep him. He gave him a good supper, and, on retiring to bed, took him with him to his chamber. No sooner had he pulled off his trowsers, than they were seized by the dog; the owner, conceiving he wanted to play with them, took them away again. The animal began to bark at the door, which the traveller opened, under the idea that he wanted to go out. Caniche instantly snatched up the trowsers, and away he flew. The stranger posted after him with his nightcap on, and literally sans culottes. Anxiety for the fate of a purse full of double Napoleons, of forty francs each, which was in one of the pockets, gave redoubled velocity to his steps. Caniche ran full speed to his master's house, where the stranger arrived in a moment afterwards, very much enraged. He accused the dog of robbing him. “Sir” said the master, “my dog is a very faithful creature; and if he has run away with your trowsers, it is because you have in them money which does not belong to you.” The traveller became still more exasperated. “Compose yourself, sir,” rejoined the other, smiling; “without doubt there is in your purse a six-livre piece with such and such marks, which you picked up in the Boulevard St. Antoine, and which I threw down there with a firm conviction that my dog would bring it back again. This is the cause of the robbery which he has committed upon you.” The stranger's rage now yielded to astonishment; he delivered the six-livre piece to the owner, and could not forbear caressing the dog which had given him so much uneasiness and such an unpleasant chase.

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

What a strange thing it would be for an animal incapable of reason to understand human speech! Why, my old parrot knows the meaning of many of the words she says, though she does not understand my speech with anything like the perfection of any of my dogs. I taught Pol to cry out at dinner-time, “Is that for Pol? Thank you; so nice.” And a maid we had, who was very fond of Pol, used to place a hot leg of mutton for a moment before Pol's cage, before she brought it up to the table; and Pol used to look at it askance, and cry out, “Is that for Pol? Thank you.” But if we forget, she does not forget, dinner-time, for as soon as she hears the rattle of the plates, she shouts at the top of her voice (N.B., the top of her voice is a very loud one), “Thank you; so nice;” and she gets many a dainty bit that she would go without through our forgetfulness, if she did not connect with the words the material meaning of them. Everybody knows that animals obey the commands of those who tend them; for that is the essence of our management, and the very life and soul of a performance by animals of all kinds that have been taught to perform.

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