Something about dogs.
Having written quite a dissertation upon hunting and game, we feel somewhat called upon to incite something upon dogs — the life of sport, the agent without whose aid it could not exist.
The genuine sportsman loves his dog next to his wife and children, if he have any. Some have even been accused of loving them a great deal better.
It may be so, for we have observed that the majority of ladies are by no means fond of dogs, and we presume it a because they are jealous of them.
They feel a secret consciousness that they divide, if they do not absolutely steal away, the affections of their lords and masters, and anything that does that is sure not to be a favorite.
We never saw a sportsman who did not, at the time, possess, or had not at some period of his career possessed, a dog superior to all other dogs that ever existed.
Every man has innumerable anecdotes to record of his dog.--Every one gives you some dozen instances of his wonderful sagacity.
They all tell you, that at such a time they owned a dog who had as much sense as a man. You assent in silence, with the conviction that some of them have a great deal more than some
men. Some of them have dogs which can do everything but talk, which, again, is more than the masters can generally do. One dog, you will be told, understands conversation, wherein we confess they surpass our humble selves.
Another knows how to draw a conclusion; an effort to which we are at times very far from being equal ourselves.
That you may not doubt, examples of this dog logic are always ready at hand, and they are always vouched for by the owner, with a vehemence proportioned to the importance of the subject.
Lord Byron, being a himself, pronounces dogs better
than men. Many sportsmen will prove
that they are at least smarter.
The races of dogs are almost as innumerable as the races of mankind.
You have well-bred dogs and dogs of no breeding at all, intelligent dogs and dogs without any brains' sharp dogs and dull dogs, cross dogs and good-natured dogs, bob-tailed dogs, long-tailed dogs, and dogs without any tail, hounds, bloodhounds, greyhounds, pointers, setters, bulls, mastiffs, Newfoundlands, poodles, St. Bernards, terriers, curs, and fices.
These are a few of the generations, but they branch out into innumerable secondary breeds and classes.
We intend only to deal with pointers and setters.
It was said long ago by a person who took great delight in field sports, ‘"treat your dog like a gentleman, if you want to make anything of him."’ This is true of all dogs.
It is more strictly true, perhaps, of pointers, than of any others.
They must be treated with the utmost kindness, kept warm, fed well, and placed on a footing with the family.
, in the play, they are exceedingly ‘"compatible to good treatment."’ They are the most sensitive of dogs, the most easily cowed by harsh treatment, and the most grateful for kindness.
Beat a pointer unnecessarily, kick him, scold him, give him never a word of encouragement, and his spirit is soon broken.--He becomes worthless, lazy, and sheepish.
He loses the erectness of his walk and the spirit of his carriage.
He comes crawling up to you with averted eyes, and countenance resembling that of a felon.
Indeed, you must keep a sharp look-out, lest he become a felon in deed as well as in look.
If you will kick your pointer, you should at least secure your sheep-pen.--On the contrary, if you treat him well, he is always full of life and spirit.
He starts up when he hears your voice, and shows his pleasure by a thousand antics.
He becomes your constant companion and your most useful servant.
You soon become as proud of his society as he is of yours.
Take him out in the field, and he is worth a hundred half starved, ill-conditioned, badly-treated dogs.
wrote an epitaph on a Newfound-land dog. We do not see why we should not bestow a posthumous notice on a few pointers we have known.
And first upon Carlo, a dog that belonged to Mr. Narcissus W. Miller
of Goochland county
Poor Carlo! He has now been under the sod more than thirty years, yet his master has not forgotten him to this day. He was a most gentlemanly dog, yet somewhat over dignified, we may almost say surly, in his deportment.
He allowed nobody else to fondle him, and resisted all attempts as an insult.
He could be induced by no persuasion to follow any but his master, even in the field, and he would obey nobody else.
He was a dog of remarkably rapid movements, and was as good at a single bird as at a covey.
He was very remarkable in one respect; when he found a covey, and bad stood a considerable time without being observed by the huntsmen, he would steal off, find his master, and make him understand by his motions the state of affairs.
He was the only dog we ever saw that would take no notice of a hare, although it started up directly under his nose.
He could be sent back to any distance for anything that was lost, and never failed to recover a dead or wounded bird.
He was a beautiful dog, stout chest, large head, eyes full of intelligence, white, with a large liver spot on his back, forming as perfect an eclipse as could be made by mathematical instruments
Another of our intimate acquaintances in the canine world was Ludo, a large, beautiful white
pointer, belonging to Dr. Wm. S. Scott
, now of Fredericksburg
, but at the time we speak of living in Goochland
Ludo was a magnificent dog in all respects, No dog of his day could find more birds, and he was fully as good at single birds as at coveys.
He was not fond of following strangers, but we got him out once, and happening, unfortunately, to miss several times, he took it in such high dudgeon that he tucked tail and incontinently trotted off home.--Nor could we ever prevail on him to follow us again.
Considering the low esteem in which he evidently held an indifferent shot, it has always been a mystery to us how his master obtained a sufficient ascendancy over him to break him as he was broken.
He must have taken to it naturally.
Dr. Erasmus Powell
, at present of this city, but formerly of Goochland
, had a dog to which he irreverently gave the name of Maffitt
, after the celebrated Divine John New Land Maffitt
, of whom, for aught we know, he might have been an admirer.
was not at all inferior to the last-mentioned, in the field, and he was infinitely superior to him in social qualities. He had an infinite number of tricks which he played off for the amusement of his master's guests, whom he appeared to consider his own. His hospitality, indeed, was unbounded.
Nothing could exceed the joy with which he hailed the arrival of a visitor.
He was, we think, the most pleasant companion of the dog kind we ever met with.
His heart was as open as day. There was no such thing as ill-nature in him' if only the company happened to be to his liking, for, with all his hospitality, he was particular about his associations, and had his likes and dislikes as strong as an orthodox Christian.
was a beautiful black
dog, built alike for speed and endurance
These were all fine dogs, we should say; indeed, very fine.
But the finest we ever saw in the field, we think, was one that belonged to Mr. Peter W. Grubes
, and was named Zach
, after General Zachary Taylor
, How he came to be so fine a dog we could never understand.
Dogberry tell us that ‘"reading and writing come by nature,"’ and so, we suppose, came Zach
's accomplishments; for, though his master is a great fisherman, we do not understand that he is equally expert upon the wing.
Accomplished, however, Zach
was, in a degree beyond any other dog we ever saw in the field.
He could quarter the ground better, move faster, find more birds, and scare up fewer before the huntsmen came up, than is conceivable by anybody that never saw him. He was all yellow, built like a greyhound, and a perfect model of symmetrical beauty.
He came of a race that had long been famous for their achievements in the field; but he, we suspect, was superior to all of them.
The race, we suspect, is extinct, and we think it a great pity.
The last of his sons of which we have heard was owned by Mr. Robert Heth
, of this city.
We had very little personal knowledge of him, but we have been told he was an uncommonly fine dog, every way worthy of his ancestry.
We have spoken only of such dogs as we have seen in the field.
The least of them would be a price to any living sportsman.--There may have been, and may be still, others equally good, but we have not seen them perform.