Hearts Through History Romance Writers

The Christmas Dog

From The Terrific Record and Chronicle of Remarkable and Interesting Events, Saturday, February 10, 1849, No. 1, a touching Christmas story:

There were once two families in England who were very close, counting one another among their closest friends. The London family made it a habit each year to spend Christmas at the home of the other family, who lived in Guildford. Every year, they journeyed into Surrey from London, their dog Caesar, a large spaniel, trotting before their carriage.

For seven years the two families would keep the holiday in this manner, the London family arriving on Christmas Eve and departing a few days later–that is, until a quarrel arose between them. Then all correspondence between them ceased and the customary Christmas invitation for that year was withheld. Christmas Dogs

“About an hour before dinner, on the day before Christmas-day, the Guildford gentleman, standing at his window, exclaimed to his wife–‘Well, my dear! The W_____’s have thought better of it; for I declare here comes Caesar to announce them!’ and the dog came trotting up to the door, and was admitted to the parlour, as usual.”

With joy, the house in Guildford was quickly made ready to receive the London family–fires lit throughout, beds made, Cook bustling in the kitchen to prepare a dinner. However, their London friends did not arrive and the dinner grew cold.

After several days, the exact duration his family always stayed, Caesar left Guildford and returned safely to his home in London.

The sagacity of dogs was well-known, in both London and Guildford. However, this fresh demonstration of man’s best friend’s understanding of time was a remarkable event, such that,

“The correspondence which of necessity occurred, had the happy effect of renewing the intercourse of the estranged friends.”

Happy Holidays!






Man’s Best Friend

BanditJump Man’s best friend

Once our son’s grew up and left home, my husband and I got puppies.  So now we do agility with our dogs, a Scottish terrier named Smokey and a Pembroke Welsh corgi named Bandit. 

So now I’m thinking about how to incorporate dogs into my stories.  Since I write (mostly) in the American west, there are plenty of opportunity to have a dog as a character.  In one story the cowboy hero brings his new wife a puppy.  Ranches often had dogs, as they were useful in helping drive cattle.  My husband’s family had a dog, Buster, that would help his father round up the cattle.  Our Welsh corgi would be over the moon if we had some cows so we could tell him to go get and drive them in for milking.

Dogs were also served to hunt vermin, especially terrier type dogs.  Cats get mice, but terriers can get rats.  And farmers always have grain to protect.Smokey at DogTV

And, of course, all dogs are watch dogs, who bark when something out of the ordinary happens.  I was always impressed by Buster, as if you drove up to my in-laws’ house in the Oklahoma county side, Buster would bark a warning as you drove up the long driveway.  If, however, my in-laws were not at home, Buster would just lay on the porch and give you look like ‘nobody home, silly.’  And he was big enough, that if you didn’t know him, you wouldn’t have gotten out the car while he watched.

I would assume that most dogs in the American west were not the purebreds we would see today at a dog show.  If a hunting dog had a reputation of being a good hunter, people would want puppies from them.  Same with herding dogs, or terriers based on their ability.

Finally, one of the most common reasons for keeping a dog was for companionship the dog provided.  And while our dogs have the run of our house, I’m pretty sure my heroine who runs a boarding house will only allow the dog in the back porch or kitchen.  Our dogs don’t know how good they have it.

Blain’s Smokey of Santee, CGC, NA, NAJ

 & Blain’s Sundance Bandit, CGC, NA, NAJ, CTL2-F, CTL2-H