This section of the book is from the "Stories of Animal Sagacity" book, by William Henry Giles Kingston.
Many species of dogs appear, like the last mentioned, to be especially indued with the faculty of distinguishing their master’s property, and to possess the desire of restoring it to them when lost.
Mrs F— told me of an instance of this with which she was acquainted. A gentleman residing in the county of Cork, finding his out-houses infested by rats, sent for four small terriers to extirpate them. He amused himself with teaching the dogs a variety of canine accomplishments,—among others, to fetch and carry whatever he sent them for.
Returning one day from his daily walk, he discovered that a bunch of keys which he supposed was in his pocket was not there. Hoping that he might have left them at home, he made diligent search everywhere, but in vain. One of the little terriers had observed his master thus searching about, and there can be no doubt that, after pondering the matter in his mind, he came to the conclusion that something was lost. Be that as it may, off he set by himself from the house, and after the lapse of some hours up he came running with eager delight, the lost keys dangling from his mouth, and jingling loudly as he gambolled about in his happiness. He then dropped them at his master’s feet.
We may be sure that the dog was well caressed, and became from thenceforward the prime favourite.
That terrier was a little dog, but still he was of much use, not only by killing rats, which was his regular duty, but by trying to find out what his master wanted to have done, and doing it.
Little boys and girls may be of still greater use, if they will both perform their regular duties, and try to find out what there is to be done, and then, like the terrier, do it.