10.08.2019 19.25
 
     
 
July 27, 2019
 

Collie things

 

A TRUE STORY OF A COLLIE DOG (1900)

Tweed, for that was his name, lived at a farm near Linlithgow in Scotland. One day, in his eager pursuit after a strayed sheep, he leaped over a wall and came down on a sharp bit of a broken bottle, which cut one of his paws. His master, seeing the blood running, tied up the paw carefully and took the dog home.

"He will not be able to go with me to Edinburgh Market to-morrow," he said to his wife.

"You will have to lock him up then," she answered.

There is no doubt Tweed was listening and taking in the conversation, and his master had great difficulty in getting him locked up; but he succeeded at last, and put in safely, as he thought, under lock and key in a coal-house.

Next morning the farmer rose early, got his sheep and lambs together, and travelled with them by road into Edinburgh. He was just entering the Grass market when, to his utter surprise, he saw Tweed limping along with his tied-up paw, and a shame faced sort of expression on his face.

"Oh, Tweed, you rascal!" said his master, who could not help feeling proud of his dog at the same time that he scoldedit, "how in all the world did you manage to get here?"

Tweed just wagged his tail and cowered about his master’s feet, afraid that he would be sent home, and great was his joy when his master patted him kindly and allowed him to remain.

It was the weekly market, and Tweed knew the day, and was determined not to be kept away. So he had managed to squeeze himself out below the door of the coal-house, and had travelled all the road by himself in spite of his sore paw.

 

HE KNEW WHEN SUNDAY CAME (1916)

A few years ago, or, to be more exact, in August, 1902, whilst pastor in the little city of C. , the following incident came under my observation. To those who are interested in dumb animals, the story will not be without appreciation.

Mr. M. was a member of my official board, and served as Sunday-school superintendent. He was the proud owner of a splendid Scotch collie, bearing the name, "Sport." This dog was most affectionate, obedient, and seemed to possess an intelligence little short of human.

It was the custom of the owner, Mr. M., six days of the week, to go to his place of business each morning at 7 o'clock. Sport was always at the heels of his master, and was an obedient and faithful servant in carrying the mail that might be coming to the home. No temptation, no offer of tempting morsel of food, would divert Sport from the prompt and faithful delivery of his mail, or other packages.

Every Sunday morning, it was the custom of Mr. M. to attend the Sunday-school. Sport was not invited or permitted to follow his master on this visit. He seemed to understand that he was not wanted or needed; no attempt was made to follow his master on Sunday morning. However, on Sunday afternoon, weather permitting, Sport and his master were accustomed to visiting the cemetery, one mile out in the suburbs. The hour for this short tramp was always promptly at 2.30 o'clock.

I was a guest in the home for noonday luncheon on this particular day in August, 1902. It was my purpose to learn for myself, to see for myself, the alleged evidences of intelligence attributed to my friend's dog.

At precisely 2.25, by the clock on the mantel, Sport began a low, rather musical, whine, followed with a slight scratching on the screen door.

Just as the clock struck the half-hour, the dog jumped to his hind feet, placing his fore paws against the screen door, and, with a bark of seeming joy, called his master.

At once, Mr. M and myself went out upon the porch, the dog running down the walk, on the direct way toward the cemetery. I was twice an eye-witness of this same procedure. In both instances the conduct varied not in the smallest degree.

I am fully persuaded in my own mind that Sport knew by some process, when Sunday came!

Some additional words: Ten years after the occurrences herein described, I received a letter from my long-time friend, Mr. M. He had removed to Oklahoma. Previous to his going, he had arranged for the care of his faithful Sport, until age should call him hence, with a near-by friend. This compact was made in the presence of the dog.

The household goods had been shipped. Tickets had been purchased and baggage checked, and within an hour the journey to the far West was to begin. Sport was not to be found. Long search discovered him far back under the floor of the barn. Sport had finished his mission, and the long sleep was upon him!

Did he know, by some mysterious way not familiar to us, of the contemplated separation from his master? Did sorrow break his heart, and cause an untimely end? Who knows?

If he knew when Sunday came - and who will dispute it - might he not have had an intuition as to his master's going away from him? I believe he knew.

 

OLD SHEP SET THE LIGHTS (1920)

Out in Ohio, a few years ago, there was a collie that did some wonderful things — among them, hanging the lanterns out on the ends of the long dikes along the Ohio River.

"Shep" was owned by a man employed by the Government to place these danger-signals along the dikes to warn river craft of the danger of running too close. Each night Shep could be seen picking up a lighted lantern, placed by his master among many others, taking the handle in his mouth, and trotting out to the end of the first dike, where there was a hook, upon which Shep hung his lantern. Then he trotted back and took up another, and went out along the top of the next dike, repeating his trips until all the lanterns were hung just as well as if placed by his master.

 

THE INTRUDER (1899)

Life to Prince meant sticks.

The game was simple. You threw a stick a few yards, Prince recovered it, brought it to your feet, and, after a solemn pantomime suggesting that he would never again part with it, the stick was dropped and you were expected to throw it again. The village where Prince lived was an ideal village for the playing at sticks. The road was white and dusty, with here and there oases of cool cobble stones on which a dog could rest his nose; and there was hardly any traffic. Facing one side of the road was a seat, and behind the seat the churchyard wall. As the village stood on a hill, travellers and idlers often sat awhile on the seat.

That was Prince's opportunity: that was why this village was so good a place for playing sticks, why Prince liked living there. For if, when you have reached the top of a hill and are comfortably seated, a great shaggy colley dog drops a piece of stick at your feet, and lies down just behind it, with front paws tucked in under his chest, asking you, begging you, to throw the stick—could you resist the appeal? Well, I had been playing sticks with Prince intermittently through a Sunday afternoon. When the bell calling to evening service ceased I threw the stick for the last time, entered the little church, and found a seat near the door. The service progressed slowly: the vicar had lived forty years in the village: he was old, short-sighted, but benign: no gabbler: a lover of his calling: a stickler for punctilious propriety in the observance of the rubric.

The first hymn ("We Love Thy House, O Lord") had begun ; the vicar, his gentle eyes peering into the hymn-book, had given himself up to the influence of the hour, when I heard a slight scuffling in the porch beyond the open door of the church. I glanced over my shoulder to see Prince pick a piece of stick from the ground. He paused a moment, as if selecting a playmate among the congregation. Then he advanced solemnly up the aisle. He ascended the chancel steps — slowly, seriously —  halted in front of the old vicar, settled himself, tucked his front paws beneath him, dropped a piece of wet stick on the ground — and … waited.