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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