“A horse at its best is an amiable idiot; at its worst, a dangerous maniac.”
FOR THOSE WHO LOVE PETS.
“All were loved and
all were regretted, but life is made up of
“The best thing which a man possesses is his dog.”
When I saw a man driving into my yard after this, I would dart out of a back door and flee to sweet communion with my cows.
On one such occasion I shouted back that I did not want a horse of any variety, could not engage any fruit trees, did not want the place photographed, and was just going out to spend the day. I was courteously but firmly informed that my latest visitor had, singular to relate, no horse to dispose of, but he “would like fourteen dollars for my dog tax for the current year!” As he was also sheriff, constable, and justice of the peace, I did not think it worth while to argue the question, although I had no more thought of being called up to pay a dog tax than a hen tax or cat tax. I trembled, lest I should be obliged to enumerate my entire menagerie—cats, dogs, canaries, rabbits, pigs, ducks, geese, hens, turkeys, pigeons, peacocks, cows, and horses.
Each kind deserves an entire chapter, and how easy it would be to write of cats and their admirers from Cambyses to Warner; of dogs and their friends from Ulysses to Bismarck. I agree with Ik Marvel that a cat is like a politician, sly and diplomatic; purring—for food; and affectionate—for a consideration; really caring nothing for friendship and devotion, except as means to an end. Those who write books and articles and verse and prose tributes to cats think very differently, but the cats I have met have been of this type.
And dogs. Are they really so affectionate, or are they also a little shrewd in licking the hand that feeds them? I dislike to be pessimistic. But when my dogs come bounding to meet me for a jolly morning greeting they do seem expectant and hungry rather than affectionate. At other hours of the day they plead with loving eyes and wagging tails for a walk or a seat in the carriage or permission to follow the wagon.
But I will not analyze their motives. They fill the house and grounds with life and frolic, and a farm would be incomplete if they were missing. Hamerton, in speaking of the one dog, the special pet and dear companion of one’s youth, observes that “the comparative shortness of the lives of dogs is the only imperfection in the relation between them and us. If they had lived to three-score and ten, man and dog might have traveled through life together, but, as it is, we must either have a succession of affections, or else, when the first is buried in its early grave, live in a chill condition of dog-less-ness.”