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A Dog's Humanity

[April 18, 1891.]

Possibly it is from an excess of the "maudlin sentimentality" of which
physiologists complain in those who protest against cruelty to animals,
that I find it almost painful to read such pathetic stories of dogs as
the one given by Miss Cobbe in the Spectator of April 11th; for they
tell of such intelligence and devotion, that, remembering the inhuman
way in which our poor dogs are too often treated, we feel it would be
almost better if they lacked these human qualities.

The following is an anecdote of the same kind, that ever since I heard
it, I have been intending to send it to the Spectator. The servant-man
of one of my friends took a kitten to a pond with the intention of
drowning it. His master's dog was with him, and when the kitten was
thrown into the water, the dog sprang in and brought it back safely to
land. A second time the man threw it in, and again the dog rescued it;
and when for the third time the man tried to drown it, the dog, as
resolute to save the little helpless life as the man was to destroy it,
swam with it to the other side of the pool, running all the way home
with it, and safely depositing it before the kitchen fire; and "ever
after" they were inseparable, sharing even the same bed!

When not long ago I came across the noble sentiment that "hecatombs of
brutes should be tortured, if man thereby could be saved one pang," I
found myself dimly wondering what constituted a "brute." Certainly, in
the incident I have just given, the "brute" was not the dog!

S. W.

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