Story type: Essay
“I believe I’ve got about the most instinct bulldog in the United States,” said Cayote Van Gobb yesterday. “Other pups may show cuteness and cunning, you know, but my dog, the Duke of Rawhide Buttes, is not only generally smart, but he keeps up with the times. He’s not only a talented cuss, but his genius is always fresh and original.”
“What are some of his specialties, Van?” said I.
“Oh, there’s a good many of ’em, fust and last. He never seems to be content with the achievements that please other dogs. You watch him and you’ll see that his mind is active all the time. When he is still he’s working up some scheme or another, that he will ripen and fructify later on.
“For three year’s I’ve had a watermelon patch and run it with more or less success, I reckon. The Duke has tended to ’em after they got ripe, and I was going to say that it kept his hands pretty busy to do it, but, to be more accurate, I should say that it kept his mouth full. Hardly a night after the melons got ripe and in the dark of the moon, but the Dude would sample a cowboy or a sheep-herder from the lower Poudre. Watermelons were generally worth ten cents a pound along the Union Pacific for the first two weeks, and a fifty-pounder was worth $5. That made it an object to keep your melons, for in a good year you could grow enough on ten acres to pay off the national debt.
“Well, to return to my subject. Duke would sleep days during the season and gather fragments of the rear breadths of Western pantaloons at night. One morning Duke had a piece of fancy cassimere in his teeth that I tried to pry out and preserve, so that I could identify the owner, perhaps, but he wouldn’t give it up. I coaxed him and lammed him across the face and eyes with an old board, but he wouldn’t give it to me. Then I watched him. I’ve been watchin’ him ever since. He took all these fragments of goods I found, over into the garret above the carriage shed.
“Yesterday I went in there and took a lantern with me. There on the floor the Duke of Rawhide had arranged all the samples of Rocky Mountain pantaloons with a good deal of taste, and I don’t suppose you’d believe it, but that blamed pup is collecting all these little scraps to make himself a crazy quilt.
“You can talk about instinct in animals, but, so far as the Duke of Rawhide Buttes is concerned, it seems to me more like all-wool genius a yard wide.”