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.
"He went off in a moment, but running mute I was obliged to follow, and after a run of over half a mile, I lost sight of him. In following the track of the wounded buck I heard the distant barking of a dog, by which I knew he had brought him to bay, and I was soon at the spot. The buck had taken up a position in a small glade, and was charging furiously at the dog, but he was a great deal too knowing to court the danger and kept well out of the way. I shot the buck, and tying a piece of jungle rope to the dog's neck, gave him to a gunbearer to lead as I hoped he might be again useful in hunting up a wounded deer. I had not proceeded more than half a mile when we arrived at the edge of a small sluggish stream, covered in most places with rushes and waterlilies.
"We waded through this about up to our hips, but the gunbearer, who had the dog with him, could not prevail upon our mute companion to follow; he pulled violently back and shrank and showed every sign of terror as he approached the water. I had now got over and was on the opposite bank, but as nothing could induce the dog to voluntarily come near the river, I told the gunbearer to drag him across by force. This he accordingly did, and the dog swam with frantic exertions across the river and managed to slip his head out of the jungle rope by which he was held. The moment he arrived on terra firma, he rushed up a steep bank and looked attentively down into the water beneath. We now gave him credit for his sagacity in refusing to cross the dangerous passage.
"The reeds bowed down to the right and left as a huge crocodile of about eighteen feet in length moved slowly from his shallow bed into a deep hole. The dog turned to the right about and ran off as fast as his legs would carry him. No calling or whistling would induce him to return and I never saw him again. How he knew that a large crocodile lay concealed in the river I do not know, he probably had a previous unpleasant experience of those creatures, and seemed determined to profit by the lesson he had learnt. Making use of the experience I had gained in wild sports in the country, I came out well armed, according to my ideas of weapons for the chase. I had four double-barrelled rifles made specially to my order and my own pattern, my hunting knives and boar spear heads were also made to my own design and I arrived in Ceylon with a fine pack of Foxhounds, and ' Bran,' a favourite greyhound of wonderful speed and strength. The usual drawbacks and discomforts attending upon a new settlement having been overcome, Newera Ellia formed a pleasant place of residence.
I soon, however, discovered that Foxhounds were not at all adapted to a country so enclosed by forest, some of the hounds were lost, others I parted with, and their progeny, crossed with Pointers, Bloodhounds and other breeds, have proved a useful stamp for Elk hunting.
"It is difficult to form a pack for this sport which shall be perfect in all respects. Sometimes a splendid hound in character may be more like a butcher's dog in appearance, but the pack cannot afford to part with him if he has really proved his value in work. The casualties from Leopards, Wild Boars, Elks and lost dogs are so great that the pack is with extreme difficulty kept up by breeding.
"It must be borne in mind that the place of a lost dog cannot be easily supplied in Ceylon! Newera Ellia is one of the few places in the island where the climate is suited to the constitution of a dog. In the low and hot climates they lead a short and miserable life, which is soon ended by the inevitable liver complaint; thus, if a supply for the pack cannot be kept up by breeding, hounds must be procured from England from time to time, and this, it is needless to say, is attended with much risk and great expense".
On one of the last occasions I exhibited my dogs at Maidstone show, in Kent, I was rather amused by a conversation I had with the secretary there. He said, "whenever I see you, sir, I think of your Dog." I asked what dog he referred to? He said, "one of your Dandies, I think he was a champion, (I forget whether it was Champion Rob Roy, or Champion Laird, but think it must have been the former). You had to leave before the end of the show, which was very unusual with you, sir, and you asked me to see your dogs packed; I was out in the building where all the boxes and baskets were, when I heard a crackling noise, and, looking towards the place, saw a dogs head, and directly afterwards his body, come out of one of the hampers, and saw the dog walk across the building, and search amongst the packages, when he had found the one he wanted, he lifted up the lid with his nose, jumped in and lay down; I at once went over to see what name and number was on the package, and found that one of your dogs had been put, by an oversight, into a wrong basket, and as he found out it was not the proper one, he ate his way out, searched for and found his correct travelling basket, and lay down in it, ready to be sent home.
I thought this was so smart and intelligent of the dog that I have never forgotten it, and have often mentioned it to my friends, who are interested in dogs".
The following about the dog, which appeared in the "Arcana of Science" in 1829, just seventy years ago, may be interesting to some of my readers at the present day: "The dog is the only animal that dreams, he and the elephant the only animals that understand looks and expressions; the elephant is the only four-footed animal that feels ennui; the dog the only quadruped which has been brought to speak. Professor Leibnitz, in Saxony, bore witness to a hound, he had heard speak thirty words distinctly".
I am inclined to doubt the speaking faculty of the dog, though I have certainly seen many animals that could do almost everything, but speak.
Buffon, the eminent French naturalist, says of the dog, "More docile than man, more obedient than any other animal, he is not only instructed in a short time, but also conforms to the manners and dispositions of those who have authority over him. He takes his tone from the house he inhabits, like the rest of the domestic staff, he is disdainful among the great and churlish among the clowns. Always assiduous in serving his master, and only friendly to his friends; he is indifferent to all others and declares himself openly against such as are dependent like himself. He knows a beggar by his voice, by his clothes or his gestures and challenges his approach. When, at night, or other occasions, the protection of the house is entrusted to his care, he seems proud of the charge, he continues a vigilant sentinel, he goes his rounds, scents strangers at a distance and gives them warning he is upon duty. If they attempt to break in upon his territory, he becomes more fierce, flies at them, threatens, fights, and either conquers alone or alarms those who have most at interest in coming to his assistance, however, when he has conquered, he quickly reposes, and abstains from what he has prevented others from abusing, giving thus, at once, a lesson of courage, temperance and fidelity".