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Bully's Short Cut

[Aug. 29, 1874.]

I see that you welcome all notes of interest upon our fellow-beings, the
dogs. Here is one that seems to prove they have a sense of time and of
distance as measured by time.

I was walking with my bull-terrier, Bully (seven years old last
Christmas), during a hot afternoon this month homewards along the Bund
(Shanghai), and I suddenly missed him. I turned back for twenty or
thirty yards, and, not finding him, I gave up the search, saying, "He
knows the way home well enough." Presently I saw him on my right,
dripping with water, cantering on at a round pace, without looking about
him, homewards. I watched him, curious to see whether he would go
straight home. No. He kept on till he reached the distance of about 150
yards, and looked ahead, not smelling the ground. He then deliberately
walked back, catching sight of me in about twenty yards after his
turning back, and wagged his tale recognisingly. He had evidently been
to cool himself in the river (thirty yards to the right, it being low
tide), and, thinking I would go on at the ordinary pace without him, he,
after his bath, struck directly at a long diagonal for the point I would
have reached if I had not turned back to look for him. He did not seem
to have the slightest misgiving as to his sense of the distance I
ought to have walked during the time of his bath. His turning was done
seemingly with a calm assurance of certainty. I may add that there were
twenty to thirty foot-passengers scattered over the portion of road in
question at the time, whose footsteps might have effaced my scent on the
watered granite macadamised roadway, even supposing the dog to have
tried his sense of smell, which he did not, as far as I could see, and
I noticed him carefully.

W. G. S.

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