OUR FAITHFUL FRIEND
I simply cannot resist the temptation of writing to Fur News about a friend who was very faithful to us and a friend who at times would understand much better than many human persons. He was intelligent at all times. This friend was a large black and white bulldog which hardly ever started a fight himself. Of course, under certain circumstances, such as trespassing dogs, etc., he would rush toward them on high speed to punish them for their misconduct. Although you may not believe it, he was a very busy dog in the woods. He would chase rabbits and follow grey squirrels along the tree tops. He would also bark at a red squirrel in a tree. I remember his coming in one night very odiferous and at once we realized that he had had a combat with a skunk. He would dig at a rabbit hole in hopes of digging the rabbit out. Before he departed for the land of the faithful dogs his toes were worn down to his feet, so that they bled and were sore. You could throw candy into the air (also food) and he would jump up and catch it in the air. He would bark for candy, shake holds, roll over and also sit up. Throw a stick into the water and he would swim out after it. Roll a ball along on the floor and he would rush after it and catch it, throw it into the air a few times and then return it to you. You could hold a stick in your hand, tell him to shake it and he would grab it in his mouth and pull for dear life. While he had a grip on the stick you could swing him around and hold him up in the air. He would in like manner grasp a pole and the pole could then be placed on the shoulders of two persons. I have seen him hang on a pole this way until his eyes commenced to close. He loved children and was very good natured, although the children of the village sometimes imposed upon his good nature. They were always glad to see him, and he was always glad to see them. He loved to go for a boat ride and would stand up on the bow of the boat or front seat, if it wasn't occupied.
But poor "Sim," his last days were near at hand when a pack of 11 dogs overhauled him These dogs ran down deer and ate them, killed two cats one night and also two dogs a night or so later. Then they decided to kill Sim. For some reason or other the shed door this night was not locked. About 2 o'clock the next morning we were suddenly awakened by barks on both high and low pitch. My mother recognized "Sim's" voice and jumped out of bed immediately, rushed downstairs, lit the electric lights, opened the outside door and clapped as loud as she could. Instantly the barking ceased. At this time my father arrived on the spot, lit a lantern and rushed outdoors and called for Sim at the top of his voice. On the side of the road opposite the house there was a stone wall. Over the other side of this stone wall Sim had nearly me! his fate. But suddenly a stone was heard to fall from off this wall. My father did not know what it was, but kept on calling. Then Sim appeared. He would get up, go a few steps and then fall down, get up and do the same thing* over and over again. He stopped when he reached us and he was panting very hard. Hi was bleeding also and holding one paw out straight. We took him into the house and put a blanket on the floor. This he tried to lay down upon and finally fell in a heap upon it with a low groan. We bathed him and bandaged him and did not make him move from his position any more than possible, but when we did move him a little he uttered low groans. Healways was full of grit and I guess that he had decided to keep this grit through all manner of suffering. He laid on this blanket and did not move for nearly one day. Then he teased to go outdoors; but soon returned. Finally he commenced to gain and soon could step a little on his foot. When he was well enough he visited the place where the nearly fatal combat had been, and when well he commenced to hunt and play as before; but he could not help from limping on his right forward foot.
It seemed as though Sim was doomed to die before his time, for he was not an old dog. Perhaps he was too good to live, for soon a sort of rash broke out all over him, and finally he became so bad off that my father one day took Sim into the woods for the last hunt that he should ever have. This faithful old friend of ours and my father with his gun left- for the woods. This was a hard job for my father; but it seemed evident that it must be done, and he never would have recovered. While in the thick woods a squirrel chattered, and Sim, instead of running off into the woods as he had done in his earlier times, merely raised his ears and front foot and listened. My father slowly raised his shotgun and with eyes dimmed with tears took the best aim he possibly could and fired. Sim fell. He never knew what had hit him and not a sound was uttered from him. He had gone into the woods and bravely faced death.
Although I live to be over 100 years old I doubt if I ever will forget him, or tire of telling about him. Sim is now in a happy land, where I trust he has met other faithful friends of man who will make him happy. Surely who can doubt that the dog is man's best friend. As for the wild dogs, they are all shot off, and I think that nothing will touch them, neither beasts of the earth or birds of the air.
George C. Lane
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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