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A Sunday Dog

[Feb. 17, 1877.]

A correspondent favoured your readers last week (see page 53) with an
interesting anecdote of a dog's intelligence in reference to the use of
money. Permit me to relate an instance of a dog's intelligence in
reference to the day of the week. Some three-and-twenty years ago, in
the infancy of the Canterbury Province, New Zealand, there lived in the
same neighbourhood as myself two young men, in the rough but independent
mode of life then prevalent in the colony, somewhat oblivious of old
institutions. These men possessed a dog each, affectionate companions of
their solitude. It was the custom of this primitive establishment to
utilise the Sabbath by a ramble, in quest of wild ducks and wild pigs,
about the swamps and creeks of the district. It was observed that long
before any preparations were made for starting, the dogs always seemed
to be more or less excited. This was remarkable enough, but not so much
as what followed. One of these men after a while left his friend, and
taking his dog with him, went to live with a clergyman about four miles
off. Here ducks and pigs had to be given up on Sundays for the
church-service. It was soon noticed that this dog used to vanish betimes
on Sundays, and did not turn up again until late. Upon inquiring, it was
found that the dog had visited its old abode, where on that day of the
week sport was not forbidden. The owner tried the plan of chaining up
the animal on Saturday evenings, but it soon became very cunning, and
would get away whenever it had the chance. On one occasion it was
temporarily fastened to a fence-rail about mid-day on a Saturday. By
repeated jerks it loosened the rail from the mortice-holes, and dragged
it away. Upon search being made, this resolute but unfortunate dog was
found drowned, still fast to the chain and rail, in a stream about two
miles away in the direction of its old haunts. The gentleman who owned
the other dog is in England now, and went over the details of the facts
herein stated with me quite recently.


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