This section is from the book "All About Dogs - A Book For Doggy People", by Charles Henry Lane. Also available from Amazon: All About Dogs: A Book For Doggy People.
The following related by the late Hon. Grantley Berkeley, strongly illustrative of the sagacity and thinking powers of dogs, may be interesting to some of my readers: "I had a dog called 'Wolf,' at Teffont Mane House, in Wiltshire, and when I fed my tame pheasants and partridges I always took him with me. This dog had seen my caution when I approached the birds and always obeyed my signal to lie down by the gun till I had done feeding them. When the game began to get to an age to stray, a considerable number used to come upon the lawn in front of the windows.
"One afternoon the lawn being, to all appearances, clear of birds, I sent Wolf to hunt a rabbit out of a circular flower bed, for me to shoot. The dog obeyed the sign, but no sooner had he entered the laurels, than he made a sort of snap with his jaws, a thing he always did when he was not pleased, and returned to my heels with rather a sheepish look. The sign to hunt having been repeated the same thing occurred and on his returning to me with a peculiar expression in his face, I went to the laurels to ascertain what hindered his obedience.
"To my great pleasure I found about a dozen young pheasants, into whose presence he was fearful of intruding, so I lay down on the lawn close to the pheasants, and letting him see how pleased I was, caressed him for full five minutes, and then when I retired, did so in a most marked and stealthy manner, which he, close at my heels, immediately adopted. Now suppose some thoughtless or inconsiderate master with such a dog as this had upon his refusal to hunt, beaten or kicked him for disobedience, which would really have deserved the punishment, the sensible dog, or the silly man?
"On taking up my residence at Beacon Lodge, and, for years after, Wolf was still in or out of the house, my constant companion and closely observant of all I did or desired. When first the wild white rabbits began to appear at Beacon, I never shot them, but very frequently killed the brown ones by their side. In hunting any outlying place, if by chance there was a white rabbit, I used to stop Wolf from hunting it up to my gun, and by observation the dog convinced himself that a rabbit so coloured was on no account to be molested. When the whites had become more common, one evening I went out to kill some rabbits for the table, or to give away, and seeing a very fine young white one, I shot it. The rabbit lay dead on the contrary side of a fence, and Wolf had not seen it killed, but at a sign from me, flew over to pick up whatever might be there. The rabbit lay kicking with its hinder legs, and Wolf seeing the motion in the grass, dashed up, but instantly made the snap with his jaws, dropped his stern and came back with a sheepish look, as if to tell me I had done wrong.
I praised and made much of him, and taking him with me up to the rabbit encouraged him to pick it up and to give it to me, and ever after he would pick up any coloured rabbit that might be killed.
"Wolf's dinner hour was at my dessert time, the last thing the retiring servants had to do was to place his plate upon the hearthrug. Occasionally they neglected to do this, and then he had seen me ring the bell, to rectify the omission. For some years before his death, when his dinner was due, and had not been brought in, after looking at me with a wistful expression of countenance, he would go up and kiss the bell handle, and then come to me, look up in my face, and push my arm with his nose. Of course, up came his dinner, with a ring from the bell, denoting double quick time".
More than forty years since, there was a London street dog which took a great fancy to following the fire engines. Whenever there was a fire there would the dog be seen running in and out among the throng apparently making himself as busy as possible. This strange conduct of the animal, of course, attracted the attention of the firemen, and after a time they used to feed and take notice of him, occasionally giving him a ride on the engine. At last, so well was the dog known that he came to be called the Fireman's Dog. He owned no master, but stopped a day or two with any of the firemen he took a fancy to. He was always on the alert, directly the fire alarm was given, and used frequently to run by the side of the horses for miles together. At last the dog on one of the journeys, was run over and killed, when the firemen had his body stuffed and set up in a glass case in the principal office of the Metropolitan fire brigade, Watling street, London. There it remained for some years, and numbers of people called to see him in his glass case.
In 1853 the Superintendent of the Fire Station, Chandos street, Covent Garden, was for some neglect of duty degraded to the rank of an ordinary fireman. This disgrace so preyed on the poor fellow's mind, that one winter's night he threw himself over Waterloo Bridge and was drowned. He left a widow and children totally unprovided for, and in order to procure a sum for their relief, the glass case containing the stuffed figure of the Fireman's Dog was disposed of by way of lottery. A raffle took place at a tavern in Chandos street, when upwards of a hundred pounds was realised. The dog was won by the tavern-keeper, and in his parlour it may still be seen. Thus you see that long after death the dog has been found useful to his masters in time of need.
The following account of a dog, for many years known as "The Brighton Coach Dog," is cut from an old newspaper of the time. "For a long period a dog invariably accompanied the only coach which in 1851 ran between London and Brighton. On the 24th June, in that year, he was placed on the back of the coach to prevent his barking at the horses, when he jumped off at Henfield and fell between the wheels, one of which, passing over his back, killed him. The animal belonged to an ostler at the Newcastle Place stables, Edgeware Road, London; he went to the yard when a puppy and the man took care of him.