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Dog And Pigeon





[Sept. 22, 1888.]

The Spectator does not disdain anecdotes of dogs and their doings, and
I think the following history, to which I can bear personal testimony,
may be found not uninteresting to your readers. At this delightful house
in Perthshire, where I am on a visit, there is a well-bred pointer,
named Fop, who, when not engaged in his professional pursuits on the
moor, lives chiefly in a kennel placed in a loose-box adjoining the
other stables attached to the house. Nearly a year ago there were a pair
of pigeons who lived in and about the stable yard. One of the birds
died, and its bereaved mate at once attached itself for society and
protection to the dog, and has been its constant companion ever since.
On the days when the sportsmen are not seeking grouse the dog is in his
kennel, and the pigeon is always his close attendant. She roosts on a
rack over the manger of the stable, and in the day-time is either
strutting about preening her feathers, taking her meals from the dog's
biscuit and water tin, or quite as often sitting in the kennel by his
side, nestling close to him. Fop, who is an amiable and rather
sentimental being, takes no apparent notice of his companion, except
that we observe him, in jumping into or out of his kennel while the
pigeon is there, to take obvious care not to crush or disturb her in any
way. The only other symptom Fop has shown of being jealous for the
pigeon's comfort and convenience is that when of late two chickens from
the stable-yard wandered into the apartment where the dog and pigeon
reside, he very promptly bit their heads off, as if in mute intimation
that one bird is company, and two (or rather three) are none.

The story is rather one of a pigeon than a dog, for it is quite evident
that she is the devoted friend, and that he acquiesces in the
friendship. On the days when Fop is taken, to his infinite delight, on
to the moor, the pigeon is much concerned. She follows him as far as she
dare, taking a series of short flights over his head, until a little
wood is reached, through which the keeper and dogs have to take their
way. At this point her courage fails her, and she returns to the stable,
to wait hopefully for her comrade's return.

This singular alliance is a great joy and interest to the keepers,
coachmen, and grooms of the establishment, and as the keeper gave me a
strong hint that the story ought to be told in print, adding that he had
seen much less noteworthy incidents of animal life promoted to such
honour, I have ventured to send it to you. I may add that the pigeon is
of the kind called "Jacobin," and is white, with a black wing. Is there
any precedent for such close intimacies between animals so widely
separated in kind and habit?

ALFRED AINGER.





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