Guardian Dogs

[July 15, 1892.]

Having read for years your interesting letters and articles on animals

in the Spectator, I feel sure you will like to have a thoroughly

authentic account of a dog in this neighbourhood. I am allowed to give

the name of the owner, who is living at Lyme Regis, where I was staying

last week. The two incidents happened within a few weeks of each other.

Mrs. and Miss Coode were a
one in their house (except the servants); and

one night Miss Coode was awakened by hearing two knocks at her door and

a slight whine. It was between three and four o'clock in the morning.

She rose and opened the door to find the dog there, and at the same time

noticed and heard a stream of water running down the stairs. She went up

the staircase to its source, and aroused the servants to attend to it.

As soon as the dog saw that the matter was being remedied, he quietly

went back to the mat in the hall and went to sleep again. The dog is a

large one, a cross between a retriever and a greyhound--a very beautiful

creature, resembling a poacher's lurcher.

The second incident occurred only last week, when Miss Coode was again

aroused. This time by a loud crash, as if a picture had fallen. Almost

immediately the dog bounded upstairs, threw himself against the door,

which happened to be ajar, burst into the room, panting and eyes

glistening,--this, at least, Miss Coode saw as soon as she struck a

light, for it was between twelve and one o'clock. She went out on to the

staircase and downstairs to look at the pictures in the drawing-room.

The dog would not follow. The cook, coming down from her room, called

him a coward not to go with his mistress, but Sheppard did not move.

Miss Coode found all safe below, and returned upstairs, and the dog went

with her to the top floor, where the ceiling of a small room had fallen

in. He then retired to his mat, having done his duty. He also showed his

sagacity in going to the daughter's room--the one most capable of seeing

to matters. Hoping, as a dog-lover, that this may interest all such, and

help to prove that dogs think and reason more than some human

beings--also to show that we often inferior beings have no right to

presuppose that the superior animals have no souls.