The power of the dog/A Pekingese Puppy
"Books cannot always please, however good,
Minds are not always craving for their Food."
"Lu Chu of Newnham"Owned by Mrs. William Herbert
A PEKINGESE PUPPY
his affectionate worship. He loves us and
reveres us as though we had drawn him
out of nothing. He is, before all, our
creature full of gratitude and more de-
voted than the apple of our eye. He is
our intimate and impassioned slave, whom
nothing discourages, whom nothing repels,
whose ardent trust and love nothing can
YOUNG life abounds with a charm that can never be repeated as days and months broaden into years. Even the calf, gambolling and frisking in the field, stupid and clumsy though it may be, is not wholly devoid of the magic of immaturity, and when we come to the puppy, the kitten, the cub of lion or tiger, we see grace and beauty in every movement, and a winsomeness that captures the fancy.
To experience the fullest pleasure in the ownership of a dog it is necessary that he should come into our possession when young, before his intelligence is formed, and innumerable other impressions crowd his brain to the exclusion of those we wish to impart. To watch the intelligence unfolding, to see the body developing, and the character chrystallising into the shape we desire it to assume, is a never ending source of joy. Day by day too, the little creature comes to depend more and more upon us, to recognise us as the chief god among the many strange beings that people this earth. When he is hungry we feed him. Is he thirsty? We give him drink. All the thousand and one little services that we render to him in the course of a week make him more and more irrevocably our debtor, and when the time comes for the state of pupilage to be shed we shall have a mature dog our devoted and obedient servant, ready to die for us if need be. In no other wise can we have quite the same understanding between master and dependent.
If you have not read Maeterlinck's essay on the death of a little dog you should do so at once. How well does he express the intimacy between a puppy and his owner. "I saw my little Pelléas sitting at the foot of my writing table, his tail carefully folded under his paws, his head a little on one side the better to question me, at once attentive and tranquil, as a saint should be in the presence of God. He was happy with the happiness which we, perhaps, shall never know, since it sprang from the smile and the approval of a life incomparably higher than his own. He was there, studying, drinking in all my looks, and he replied to them gravely, as from equal to equal, to inform me, no doubt, that, at least through the eyes, the almost immaterial organ that transformed into affectionate intelligence the light which we enjoyed, he knew that he was saying to me all that love should say."
There are, of course, drawbacks if we are lacking in patience and firmness. A puppy may sometimes be so trying that we think the very spirit of Flibbertigibbet has infused his nature, impelling him to mischief. If you happen on one like this, take him aside confidentially, reason with him, and point out to him that, however much gratification he may get at present from his reprehensible conduct, in reality
the unkind and the unruly,
And the sort who eat unduly,
They must never hope for glory—
Theirs is quite a different story.
Almost before you are aware of it his nature will have changed, he will have become a reformed character. No longer will he tear up your favourite books, as the reprobate in Miss Earl's picture is doing; the choicest plants in the garden will for ever after enjoy immunity; the children's toys will remain untouched; and on dirty days he will always wipe his feet on the mat before entering the house. Should he continue obdurate after your kindly counsels it may be obligatory to swish him, but let the punishment be given with gentle hand, even as the birch is administered by the sorrowing "Head" to the recalcitrant scholar. Remember though that youth has much to learn, experience is incomplete. Therefore, be tolerant, but let not your toleration be mixed with indulgence, unless you wish to rear up a tyrant, who will dominate the household and render your life a misery. Beyond certain well defined limitations the dog should not be allowed to step. As a sympathetic person you must treat him with kindliness, but never for a moment allow him to forget that respect which is due to you as a superior being. What is your opinion of the Prime Minister who fails to lead, of the General who consults a private? Each is unfitted for the position to which he has been called. So, too, is the man who abdicates his headship in favour of Fido. He has no right to own a dog. Puppies, like children, are all the better when subjected to reasonable discipline, and in using the word discipline I do not mean an excessive application of the rod or incessant nagging.What is the fate of the merry mite so cleverly portrayed by Miss Earl? Youth passes, middle age comes, let him play and eat and sleep while the zest is on him, so that on the advent of maturity with all its troubles he may seek consolation in the memories of a happy puppyhood.