Monday, May 30, 2016

An Heroic Dog by Vernon S Morwood 1882

Heroic dogs, article in T.P.s Weekly 1906

Talking of heroic dogs, only the other day in the North of Ireland a mongrel, that had come out to look for his master's children, arrived at the spot where they were playing together just in time to see one of them roll down a slope which ended in a precipice. Without a moment's hesitation the dog rushed down the slope after the child, and, catching it by its dress, just as it was toppling over the brink of the precipice, he held it fast till the other children climbed down to its rescue. A Newfoundland dog, whose portrait Moreland had the honour of painting and Bartolozzi of engraving, once put two boatmen of Portsmouth to shame. A Mr. Phillips, while bathing there, ventured out too far and was in imminent danger of drowning. The bystanders on the beach prayed two boatmen to put out to his rescue, but they declined unless they were paid for the service a certain sum. While they were haggling about the price of a life, a Newfoundland dog, of his own initiative, plunged in, swam swiftly to the drowning man's assistance, and towed him ashore. Mr. Phillips bought the dog from his owner, a butcher, and instituted an annual festival in its honour till its death. At this festival the dog was assigned the place of honour, and consumed his beefsteak with creditable decorum. After Moreland had painted and Bartolozzi had engraved the dog's portrait, Mr. Phillips had it worked into the tissue of all his table-linen, subscribed with the motto, “Virum extali mari.”

An Heroic Dog by Vernon S Morwood 1882

In the year 1867, when the Gloucester lifeboat was launched, in the Victoria Docks of that city, it was deemed necessary for two men to throw themselves into the water in order to show the great utility of cork-jackets in keeping the upper part of the bodies of their wearers when in the water above its surface, to save them from drowning. Amongst the thousands of spectators who were watching the men floating about was a Newfoundland dog, who became much excited at what he, no doubt, considered to be the perilous condition of the men. He ran hither and thither, barking very furiously, and trying in a thoroughly doggish way his very best to prevail upon some one in that large multitude of human beings to go to the men's assistance. Finding no one did so, splash into the water he went, and swam direct to the men, one of whom he caught by the sleeve, with the intention of helping him out of danger. A struggle ensued: the man tried to shake the dog off, but it was of no avail. The dog would not relinquish his hold until two men in a small boat went to their rescue and took them both into it. They were then safely landed on the quay. The dog evinced some pleasure in seeing the men once again on terra firma.

If the dog was ignorant of the uses of cork-jackets he had a perception of danger, and therefore, impelled by an almost humane feeling, and prompted by a generous heart and true heroism in what he did, plunged into the water to save the men he thought were running the risk of losing their lives. No selfish motive tarnished this dog's most noble act.

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

A Heroic Dog, 1881 article in The Child's Friend

A Remarkable instance of canine courage and sagacity has recently been recorded in America. It appears that a party of soldiers, accompanied by their captain, were bathing in a river in Colorado, and were amusing themselves in various ways in the water. The captain entered fully into the frolic-some spirit of the scene, taking an active part in such games as were going on. Being chased by some of the bathers, he took flight, and, passing beyond the shallow quarter of the river, found himself being rapidly carried into deep water by the force of the current. Not wishing to alarm his men, and in ignorance of the full extent of his danger, he made a few efforts to save himself, until he went under, hopelessly entangled in a quicksand. The soldiers took no notice of the occurrence, thinking that he was swimming about; but as soon as he had disappeared, his dog—a fine St. Bernard—immediately took to the water, and his howls at length attracted the bathers' attention. The captain came up about twenty-five yards below the spot where he first went under, and just as he was sinking again, the dog seized him by the hair and kept him above water. Meanwhile a rescue was attempted by the soldiers, but before they could reach the captain (who fortunately had never lost consciousness, but managed to grasp the dog while it swam ashore), the noble animal had brought him safely to land. Dogs, as everyone knows, have, on innumerable occasions, been the means of saving people from drowning; but the noteworthy point connected with this particular rescue is the striking manner in which the dog at once realised his master's danger, while the soldiers were quite unconscious of it; the animal's sagacity presenting a marked contrast with that of the men, or, rather, with their want of it. This dog's name was Hero; but was he not a hero by nature as well?

On an interesting note: A crow's funeral.

Pliny describes a superb funeral of a crow which took place during the reign of Claudius. All Rome knew and petted the bird because of its extraordinary talents, and its death was so universally deplored and resented that the man who killed it was executed for the crime! Having thus avenged it, all Rome proceeded to honour it by a public funeral. The dead crow, having been laid on a bier borne by two slaves, was carried in state to its grave, preceded by a band playing a funeral march, and followed by a vast multitude of mourners of all ranks and classes!

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