This section of the book is from the "Stories of Animal Sagacity" book, by William Henry Giles Kingston.
A dear friend gave me, many years ago, a rough, white terrier puppy, which I called Alp. I fed him with my own hand from the first, and he consequently evinced the warmest attachment to me. No animal could be more obedient; and he seemed to watch my every look to ascertain what I wished him to do.
The expression of his countenance showed his intelligence; and whenever I talked to him he seemed to be making the most strenuous efforts to reply, twisting about his lips in a fashion which often made me burst into a fit of laughter, when he would give a curious bark of delight, as much as to say,—“Ay, I can utter as meaning a sound as that.”
I felt very sure that no burglar would venture into the house while he was on the watch.
I never beat him in his life; but once I pretended to do so, with a hollow reed which happened to be in the room, on his persisting, contrary to my orders, in lying down on the rug before the fire whenever my back was turned. As I was about to leave the room, I placed the reed on the rug, and admonished him to be careful. On my return, some time afterwards, I found the reed torn up into the most minute shreds. On looking round, I saw Alp in the furthest corner of the room, twisting his mouth, wriggling about, and wagging his tail, while every now and then he turned furtive glances towards the rug, telling me as plainly as if he could speak,—“I could not resist the temptation—I did it, I own—but don’t be angry with me. You see I have now got as far away from the rug as I could be.” Alp, seeing me laugh, rushed from his corner to lick my hand. He ever afterwards, however, avoided the rug.
For his size, he was the best swimmer and diver among dogs I ever saw. He would, without hesitation, plunge into water six or eight feet deep, and bring up a stone from the bottom almost as big as his head, or dash forth from the sea-beach and boldly breast the foaming billows of the Atlantic.
After seeing what Alp did do, and feeling sure of what he could have done had circumstances called forth his powers, I am ready to believe the accounts I have heard of the wonderful performances of others of his race.
A young Newfoundland dog, living in Glasgow a few years ago, acted, under similar circumstances, very much as Alp did. As he sometimes misbehaved himself, a whip was kept near him, which was occasionally applied to his back. He naturally took a dislike to this article, and more than once was found with it in his mouth, moving slyly towards the door.
Being shut up at night in the house to watch it, he in his rounds discovered the detested instrument of punishment. To get rid of it, he attempted to thrust it under the door. It stuck fast, however, by the thick end. A few nights afterwards he again got hold of the whip, and persevered till he shoved through the thick end, when some one passing by carried it off. On being questioned as to what had become of the whip, he betrayed his guilt by his looks, and slunk away with his tail between his legs.