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Animals And Language
A Cow's Jealousy Of A Dog
[April 30, 1892.]
As a subscriber to and constant reader of the Spectator, I have
derived much pleasure from the anecdotes of animal instinct, sagacity,
and emotion, which from time to time have appeared in your columns.
Perhaps you may like to publish the following instance of jealousy in a
cow; it is, at any rate, a story at first-hand, as I myself was an actor
in the affair.
A few years ago, I had a quiet milch-cow, Rose, who certainly was fond
of Thomas, the man who milked her regularly, and she also showed an
aversion to dogs even greater than is usual in her species. One night,
for what reason I now forget, I had tied up a young collie dog in the
little cowshed where she was accustomed to be milked. The following
morning, I had just begun to dress, when I heard the puppy barking in
the cowshed. "Oh!" thought I, "I forgot to tell Thomas about the puppy,
and now the cow will get in first and gore it." The next minute I heard
a roar of unmistakable fear and anguish--a human roar. I dashed down to
the spot, and at the same moment arrived my son, pitchfork in hand.
There lay Thomas on his face in a dry gutter by the side of the road to
the cowhouse, and the cow butting angrily at him. We drove off the cow,
and poor Thomas scuffled across the road, slipped through a wire fence,
stood up and drew breath. "Why, Thomas," said I, "what's the matter with
Rose?" "Well, sir," said Thomas, "I heard the pup bark and untied him,
and I was just coming out of the cowhouse, with the pup in my arms, when
'Rose' came round the corner. As soon as she see'd the pup in my arms,
she rushed at me without more ado, knocked me down, and would have
killed me if you hadn't come up." Thomas had indeed had a narrow escape;
his trousers were ripped up from end to end, and red marks all along his
legs showed where Rose's horns had grazed along them. "Well," said I,
"you'd better not milk her this morning, since she's in such a fury."
"Oh! I'll milk her right enough, sir, by and by; just give her a little
time to settle down like. It's only jealousy of that 'ere pup, sir. She
couldn't abide seeing me a-fondling of it." "Well, as you like," said I;
"only take care, and mind what you're about." "All right, sir!"
In about twenty minutes, Thomas called me down to see the milk. The cow
had stood quiet enough to be milked. But the milk was deeply tinged with
blood, and in half an hour a copious red precipitate had settled to the
bottom of the pail. Till then I had doubted the jealousy theory. After
that I believed.
C. HUNTER BROWN.
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