A Century of Animal Stories

A small sample here, from my forthcoming collection of real life animal stories from the nineteenth century. Most are fluffy, many surprising, one or two slightly savage… Among many intriguing things I’ve learned so far, the intelligence of dogs is one, and their inexplicable homing instinct another. How do they do this?

‘A fox terrier dog, nearly seven months old, belonging to Mr Kingsford, of University College, Durham, has had a most remarkable walking tour. It had been reared by P.C. Bowe, the University constable, and on Tuesday 2nd August, it was taken by its master, Mr Kingsford, from Durham by train. On arriving at York station the dog escaped out of the carriage. It was at that time muzzled. Shortly before nine o’clock on Sunday morning last, five days after the dog escaped from York, P.C. Bowe observed it coming down his yard on the Palace Green, Durham. It was still muzzled, and was in a very thin and weak condition, being hardly able to crawl down the yard. About three inches of chain was attached to its collar, and the leather at the top of the muzzle was worn and frayed, as if the dog had attempted to get loose. Its feet were very much blistered, and its nose was bruised, the latter probably having been caused by the animal’s endeavours to get rid of the muzzle. There is little doubt (says the Durham Advertiser) that the poor animal travelled on foot from York to Durham, a distance of nearly seventy miles, without any food.’

The Dundee Courier & Argus, 18 August 1892.