A CANINE GUARDIAN.
[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] SIR,—Having read for years your interesting letters and articles on animals in the Spectator, I feel sure you will like to have a thoroughly authentic account of a dog in this neighbourhood. I am allowed to give the name of the owner, who is living at Lyme Regis, where I was staying last week. The two incidents happened within a few weeks of each other.
Mrs. and Miss Coode were alone in their house (except the servants) ; and one night Miss Coode was awakened by hearing two knocks at her door and a slight whine. It was between 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning. She rose and opened the door to find the dog there, and at the same time noticed and heard a stream of water running down the stairs. She went up the staircase to its source, and aroused the servants to attend to it. As soon as the dog saw that the matter was being remedied, he quietly went back to the mat in the hall and went to sleep again. The dog is a large one, a cross between a retriever and a greyhound,—a very beautiful creature, resembling a poacher's lumber.
The second incident occurred only last week, when Miss• Coode was again aroused. This time by a loud crash, as if a picture had fallen. Almost immediately the dog bounded upstairs, threw himself against the door, which happened to be ajar, burst into the room, panting and eyes glistening,—this, at least, Miss Coode saw as soon as she struck a light, for it was between 12 and 1 o'clock. She went out on to the staircase and downstairs to look at the pictures in the drawing-room. The dog would not follow. The cook, coming down from her room, called him a coward not to go with his mistress, but ' Sheppard' did not move. Miss Coode found all safe below, and returned upstairs, and the dog went with her to the top-floor, where the ceiling of a small room had fallen in. He then retired to his mat, having done his duty. He also showed his sagacity in going to the daughter's room,—the one most capable of seeing to matters. Hoping, as a dog-lover, that this may interest all such, and help to prove that dogs think and reason more than some human beings,—also to show that we often inferior beings have no right to presuppose that the superior animals have no souls.—I am, Sir, &c., Knapp House, Charmouth, Dorset, July 7th. K. CLARKE.