A Dog That Scorned To Be Jealous





[Jan. 5, 1895.]



The following history of canine sympathy may interest your readers. I

was once the happy owner of a large and beautiful bull-terrier, Rose,

and at the same time of a still dearer, though less beautiful, little

mongrel, Fan, both passionately attached to a member of my household,

commonly called their best friend. A certain shawl belonging to this

adored friend was especially sacred in Fan's eyes. She never allowed any

one to touch it without remonstrance--Rose least of all--and when her

best friend was in bed, it was Fan's custom to ensconce herself in her

arms, and not to allow any dog, and only the most favoured of human

beings, to approach without violent growlings, if not worse. Fan was a

tiny grandmother who had long ruled the household; Rose, an

inexperienced newcomer. One day, in a fit of youthful folly, Rose jumped

over a gate and spiked herself badly, and was consigned for ten days to

the care of the veterinary surgeon. On her return, she was cordially

welcomed by Fan and myself; but when she rushed upstairs to the room of

her best friend (then confined to her bed), my mind forboded mischief.

We followed, and I opened the door. With one bound Rose flew into her

best friend's arms, taking Fan's very own place, and was lost in a

rapture of licking and being caressed. Fan flew after her, but to my

amazement, instead of the fury I expected, it was to join with heart and

tongue in the licking and caressing. She licked Rose as if she had been

a long-lost puppy, instead of an intruder; and then, of her own accord,

turned away, leaving Rose in possession, and took up a distant place on

the foot of the bed, appealing to me with an almost human expression of

mingled feelings--the heroic self-abnegation of new-born sympathy

struggling with natural jealousy. The better feelings triumphed (not, of

course, unsupported by human recognition and applause), till both dogs

fell asleep in their strangely reversed positions. After this, there was

a slight temporary failure in Fan's perhaps overstrained self-conquest;

but on the next day but one she actually, for the first (and last) time

in her life, made Rose welcome to a place beside her on the sacred

shawl; where again they slept side by side like sisters. This, however,

was the last gleam of the special sympathy called forth by Rose's

troubles. From that day Fan decidedly and finally resumed her jealous

occupation and guardianship of all sacred places and things, and

maintained it energetically to her life's end.



C. E. S.





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