This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
F. W. Woodward, Esq. : Dear Sir - In glancing through the pages of the London Cottage Gardener to-day, my attention was arrested by an article from a writer styling himself "Wiltshire Rector," entitled "My Dogs." A perusal of this article afforded me so much gratification, and was in such accord with a portion of my own experience, and at the same time paid such a kindly tribute to this much abused but most intelligent and faithful friend of man, that I determined to copy a few of its paragraphs and submit them for your approval, and the perusal of your readers, if they are deemed worthy and appropriate for your pages.
In almost every country, and from the earliest recorded history, the dog has been the symbol of fidelity, the friend and companion of man, and the guardian and defender of his home and his flocks. He has illustrated his fidelity, his sagacity, and'his courage so often, as to rear monuments in nearly all nations to his honor; and to win the patronage of many noble and gifted minds. It will be remembered that Alexander the Great built a city in honor of a favorite dog; - that the Emperor Hadrian decreed the most solemn rites of sepulture to another on account of his sagacity and fidelity. Those who have once read them will readily recall Byron's inscription on the tomb of his favorite dog, in "Newstead Abbey.
"-poor dog, in life the firmest friend.
The first to welcome, foremost to defend, Whose honest heart is still his master's own, Who labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone: To mark a friend's remains these stones arise - I never knew bat one, and here he lies".
The love of Scotland's great novelist and poet, Sir Walter Scott, for dogs is proverbial - and he was rarely ever seen about home without haying one or more of these faithful and attached friends by his side.
The dog is the only animal which seems to take a real delight in associating with man and making himself subservient to his wishes, and that has gone with him over the whole habitable earth. The poet Burns says: " Man is the God of the dog - be knows no other; and see how he worships him! With what reverence he crouches at his feet - with what delight he fawns upon him, and with what alacrity he obeys him I"
But in my admiration for this disinterested and intelligent Mend, companion, and servant of man, I find that I am growing unnecessarily voluble, and will yield to the extracts from "Wiltshire Rector," premising, by the way, that a good dog can show himself up to much higher advantage, with opportunity, than even the partial friends who herein commend him.
"Reader, if you have never read Dr. John Brown's 'Rab and His Friends,' the best bit of dog literature ever written, go out and get a copy; it will only cost you sixpence, and you will thank 'Wiltshire Rector' with eyes running over with happy tears, for introducing you to that wonderful bookie,' and for giving you an hour's intense pleasure, to be renewed as often as you read it.
"Well, Dr. John Brown tells us, 'A dog in a house is a perpetual baby.' Think of that, ye whose hearts are yearning to love something - think of that, ye now not young fathers and mothers, who remember the joy in the house that baby No. 1 gave you from the first hour of its baby life, until baby No. 2 took its throne and reigned in its stead. But to have a perpetual baby - a toy - a plaything - a something knowing much, yet not judged accountable, and so a large margin given to do as it likes, and all it does gives you pleasure I A perpetual baby - that is, a dear good dog, who looks at you with intense loving eyes, all affection in their clear hazel, brown, or black depths - a being who obeys you implicitly, waits for the hour at the door of the house at which you call - a being who loves you just the same whether you are rich one year and very poor the next - who into the bargain takes upon him to defend your house, your home, your castle; and if you have no home, he does not leave you - no, he all the more defends you, yourself, as much as to say, ' heer up, my poor unfortunate master; you have got no home for me to take care of; never mind, I will concentrate my attention - I will watch and take care of you.' Yes! a good affectionate dog, to whom you are everything, who loves you with his great affectionate heart.
Of such a one the old proverb ought to be strictly kept true, 'Love me, love my dog.'
"Dog and man, how suited they are to each other I And how they contribute to each other's happiness! as in a happy marriage each party is made the happier. Man has not domesticated or reclaimed any animal so perfectly as he has the dog, for the dog does not even wish for liberty. His feelings are won over. He is no longer, as naturally, a gregarious animal. He passes by other dogs with a brief' How do you do V but he knows better than to forsake man and herd with his species - unlike the horse, who kicks up his heels in the pasture and fain would not again be stabled. But the dog does not even wish to be free. Man has raised him in the scale of existence. He is more sensible, intelligent, and sagacious than his wild ancestors (half wolves, perhaps). His heart has been won, and his heart is better since it was won; so he no longer wishes - even wishes to be free.
"The first dog I loved was scarcely mine, for I was rather his property, for certainly I was much his inferior. My childhood's home was one which for many years never lacked an infant within its walls, and each little one was duly presented to old 'Keeper,' for that was his name, who sniffed and sniffed, and licked the tiny thing's face, and looked as if he knew all about it; his old brown eyes saying, 'Ah! I understand! That child belongs to the house, and Iil take care of it - all right!' And he did. Keeper romped with it, kept it happy and out of mischief, save mischief with him, such as putting its tiny hand in his mouth and poking straws up his nostrils, both deeds permitted with good-humored patience." E.