DOGS!—dear, faithful, devoted dogs! Who does not delight to set their thin or bushy tails wagging on every possible opportunity, by patting their shaggy or glossy heads, and exclaiming, "Good dog"? For who has not kept a dog?—and who (having kept one) has not found in the dog a true friend, an unselfish companion, a faithful servant?
He is the watchful guardian of our homes, our joyful attendant in walks and wanderings, our children's frolicsome playfellow, our sympathizing friend in sickness, and in death our disconsolate mourner.
If we are compelled for a while to leave our homes and families, our dog weeps real tears at our departure, and is always earliest to catch the first distant sound of our returning footsteps, and welcome us back with the uncontrollable joy that must find vent in noisy demonstration.
The dog has a love for man which even neglect and ill-usage cannot lessen or destroy. Indeed, his master is his idol, whom he daily worships with eye and ear and obedient attention, and in whose defence he is willing to lay down life itself.
The dog bears no malice, never dreams of returning evil for evil, and does not understand "owing a grudge," except where he has true cause for just resentment. If you tread on his tail or foot by accident, he may cry out sharply for the moment, but directly after he will come bounding to caress you, as though anxious to say, "Pray, do not allow my inconsiderate cry to cause you the slightest pain. I regret my tail should have been in your way. Of course, as I stretched it out in that careless manner, you could not avoid stepping upon it; so I beg you will think no more of it, and kindly forgive me for squeaking!"
If a wealthy man's riches "take to themselves wings," and he becomes suddenly poor, his so-called friends may forsake him, but his dog will stand by him and love him to the last.
Dogs seem to surpass all other animals in the union in themselves of admirable qualities. They are noble, brave, trustful, grateful, affectionate, enduring, unselfish, generous, and forgiving.
Companions they are alike in adversity as in prosperity; asking no return for the service they render us, and the affection they lavish upon us, but a little food, a little kindly notice, and a place at our feet.
Sometimes we hear of people leaving their situations to "better themselves," as they say. Nothing could induce a dog to follow such an example. He throws in his lot with his master, whether it be "for better, for worse—for richer, for poorer," and hard times, scanty fare, or even pinching want, will never drive him to leave him in search of a more comfortable home.
Should we not then appreciate this faithful creature, and be ever ready to take his part against the unkind and cruel? Alas! there are many mean and dishonourable persons who never attempt to rise to the level of the dog in disinterestedness, nobility of character, and high sense of honour! Such would be greatly benefited by taking the dog as their teacher, and learning from him lessons of affection, unselfishness, and truth.