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Hospital Dogs

[June 26, 1875.]

Dr. Walter F. Atlee writes to the editor of the Philadelphia Medical

"In a letter recently received from Lancaster, where my father resides,
it is said:--'A queer thing occurred just now. Father was in the office,
and heard a dog yelping outside the door; he paid no attention until a
second and louder yelp was heard, when he opened it, and found a little
brown dog standing on the step upon three legs. He brought him in, and
on examining the fourth leg, found a pin sticking in it. He drew out the
pin, and the dog ran away again.' The office of my father, Dr. Atlee, is
not directly on the street, but stands back, having in front of it some
six feet of stone wall with a gate. I will add, that it has not been
possible to discover anything more about this dog.

"This story reminds me of something similar that occurred to me while
studying medicine in this same office nearly thirty years ago. A man,
named Cosgrove, the keeper of a low tavern near the railroad station,
had his arm broken, and came many times to the office to have the
dressings arranged. He was always accompanied by a large, most
ferocious-looking bull-dog, that watched me most attentively, and most
unpleasantly to me, while bandaging his master's arm. A few weeks after
Cosgrove's case was discharged, I heard a noise at the office door, as
if some animal was pawing it, and on opening it, saw there this huge
bull-dog, accompanied by another dog that held up one of its front legs,
evidently broken. They entered the office. I cut several pieces of wood,
and fastened them firmly to the leg with adhesive plaster, after
straightening the limb. They left immediately. The dog that came with
Cosgrove's dog I never saw before nor since."

Do not these stories adequately show that the dogs reasoned and drew new
inferences from a new experience?


[April 6, 1889.]

Knowing your interest in dogs, I venture to send you the following
story. A week or two ago, the porter of the Bristol Royal Infirmary was
disturbed one morning about 6.30 by the howling of a dog outside the
building. Finding that it continued, he went out and tried to drive it
away; but it returned and continued to howl so piteously, that he was
obliged to go out to it again. This time he observed that one of its
paws was injured. He therefore brought it in and sent for two nurses,
who at once dressed the paw, and were rewarded by every canine sign of
gratitude, including much licking of their hands. The patient was
"retained" for two days, during which time he received every attention
from those inside the house, and from the neighbours outside, who
quickly heard of the case. As no one appeared to claim the dog, he was
sent to the Home for Lost Dogs in the city, where so interesting an
animal was, of course, not long in finding a purchaser. The dog was one
of those called "lurchers."

I have myself called on the porter of the infirmary for confirmation of
the story, and am assured by him of its truth. How did an apparently
friendless dog know where to go for surgical aid? The case differs from
that of the dog which took its friend for treatment to King's College
Hospital in London, for I understand that the King's College dog had
previously been taken to the hospital for treatment itself; but in this
case there is no such clue.


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