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Dogs Of Boytown

CHAPTER XVII
THE TEST OF REMUS

The Boytown party was at the fair grounds long before the show opened the following morning, and you may be sure the dogs were glad to see their masters, though they had been well cared for by Tom.

Though technically an outdoor show, there was room for all the dogs in the commodious cattle-show sheds in case of rain. The weather promised to be fair and warm, however, so only the smaller dogs and some of the larger short-coated ones were benched inside, where they had plenty of room and plenty of ventilation. The collies and Old English sheepdogs were tied in a row in the shade of some maple trees at one side of the grounds, and the rough-coated terriers, the setters, and some of the other breeds were also outside. The boys found the places reserved for their dogs and saw to it that they were properly and comfortably benched.

When the show opened and the spectators began to arrive, the Boytown dogs were at first nervous and excited and could not bear to have their masters leave them. After an hour or two, however, they became 266 accustomed to their surroundings, and leaving them in charge of Tom Poultice, the boys made the rounds of the show under the guidance of Mr. Hartshorn.

It was a most interesting experience for them. Some of the breeds were of course familiar to them, and Mr. Hartshorn called attention to their points and showed how some of the dogs back home fell short of conforming to the requirements of the standard. In some instances they recognized breeds that Mr. Hartshorn had told them about but which they had never seen before. There were, for example, a Scottish deerhound, an Irish water spaniel, and some cairn terriers. As Mr. Hartshorn had predicted, there were noteworthy entries of Sealyhams, wire-haired fox terriers, and Boston terriers, and particularly interesting exhibits of bulldogs and chows. There was one dog that puzzled them—a white dog with fluffy coat and bright eyes. The catalogue stated that it was a Samoyede.

"What is a Samoyede, Mr. Hartshorn?" asked Herbie Parsons. "I don't think I ever heard of that kind."

"That's so," said Mr. Hartshorn. "I guess I never told you about the Arctic breeds. This is one of them. They're not very common."

There were individual dogs, too, that demanded special attention, friendly dogs that wanted to shake 267 hands and be patted and that begged the boys to stay with them. This encouraged loitering and made the circuit of the benches quite a protracted affair. Mr. Hartshorn had warned them about approaching the dogs without an introduction.

"There are always some dogs that aren't to be trusted," said he, "and as the day wears on and they get more and more nervous, they may snap. It's always well to be cautious at a dog show, no matter how well you understand dogs. Never make a quick motion toward a dog or try to put your hand on the top of his head at first. Reach your hand out toward him quietly and let him sniff at the back of it. Then you can soon tell whether he invites further advances or not."

The boys became so absorbed in trying out this form of introduction that it was noon before they had finished visiting all the benches. Mrs. Hartshorn insisted on having luncheon.

"I'm hungry if no one else is," said she.

The five boys suddenly discovered that they were hungry, too. Mr. Hartshorn led them to a restaurant on the grounds and ordered the meal. It might have been better, but the boys were not critical. When they had finished eating they went out and sat for a little while in the shade of some trees, not far from the collies, and watched the people.

268 "Now I'll tell you about those Arctic breeds," said Mr. Hartshorn, "and get that off my mind."

It was very warm, and they were all glad of a little chance to rest. It is tiring to walk around a dog show and one becomes more weary than one realizes. The boys stretched themselves out on the grass and listened to Mr. Hartshorn's words mingled with the barking of the dogs in all keys.

"It won't take very long to tell about these northern breeds," he began. "Their natural habitat is in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Asia, Europe, Greenland, and North America. They are probably related to the Arctic wolf and they are generally used in those countries as sledge dogs.

"The spitz dog found his way down from the cold countries long ago, but he still retains some of his racial characteristics. The proper name for the one occasionally seen here is the wolfspitz. He is the largest of the spitz family, of which the Pomeranian is the miniature member.

"The Samoyede or laika is the sledge dog of northern Russia and western Siberia and was used by Nansen in his explorations. Next to the wolfspitz, the Samoyede is the most attractive and domestic of the Arctic breeds and has acquired some popularity among American fanciers, especially the white ones.

"The Norwegian elkhound is used as a bird dog 269 as well as for hunting big game in Scandinavia. It is not a hound at all, but a general utility dog of the Arctic type, dating back to the days of the Vikings. A few have been shown in this country.

"The Eskimo dog is larger than the Samoyede and is nearer to the wolf in type. He has long been known as a distinct breed, being a native of Greenland and northern Canada, and was used by Peary, the Arctic explorer. The breed has occasionally been shown in the United States.

"There are also a number of loosely bred sledge dogs in North America, including the Canadian husky and the malamutes and Siwash dogs of Alaska. The husky, is a powerful dog, weighing 125 pounds or more, and is the common draught dog of Canada. He is said to be the result of a cross between the Arctic wolf and the Eskimo dog."

"He sounds rather unattractive to me," said Mrs. Hartshorn.

"Well, he is, as a pet," said her husband, "but he is a wonderfully useful animal in his own country. Is everybody rested now? I imagine we'd better be going back. I want to be on hand when they judge the Airedales."

The party rose and trooped back to the sheds. At intervals during the afternoon they visited their own dogs and before night they had finished their rounds 270 of the show, but a good share of the time was spent in the vicinity of the judging rings. These were two roped-off enclosures on the open lawn, with camp chairs arranged about them for the ladies. At all times there was a goodly gathering about the rings of people whose interest was in the outcome of the judging. Considering the fact that there was no lively action like that of a field trial or an athletic contest, it was remarkable how much excitement could be derived from these quiet competitions. When a favorite dog was given the blue ribbon there was much hand-clapping and a little cheering, and the boys heard very little complaining or rebellion against the decisions of the judges. Dog fanciers are, for the most part, good sports.

The Airedales were judged among the first, and as usual the Willowdale dogs, skilfully exhibited by Tom Poultice, bore off their fair share of the honors. Soon the Boston terriers were called for. This was Theron Hammond's big moment, and when Alert was awarded second prize in the novice class Theron was warmly congratulated by friends and strangers alike, for there were a lot of good dogs shown and, as Mr. Hartshorn had said, Alert was in fast company.

Rover, as Darley's Launcelot of Middlesex, had an easier time of it, for only eight Old English sheepdogs were benched and none of the famous kennels 271 were represented here. There were only three dogs in the novice class, and as the other two were second-rate dogs, Rover won first place. He also won third in the open class, but was beaten out by better dogs in the winners contest.

Hamlet, however, didn't win anything. His forelegs weren't straight and the judge took special note of them. He had better dogs against him, and the better dogs won. It was a fair contest, but Herbie was bitterly disappointed.

"Never mind, Herbie," said Jack Whipple, consolingly. 272 "I bet Hamlet is a better dog to own than any of them. That's what I said about Remus when they said he hadn't any nose."

And Herbie, not to be outdone by the younger boy, plucked up spirit and bore his defeat manfully.

It was a two-day show, and the judging of the bird dogs, hounds, and some of the other breeds was put over to the second day. Ernest and Jack, therefore, still had their exciting time ahead of them, but the whole party was tired with so much walking about and watching, and they were glad to turn their dogs over to Tom's care and return to the hotel, with another day of it before them.

"Have you told us about all the breeds there are?" asked Ernest that evening in Mr. Hartshorn's room.

"I believe I have," said Mr. Hartshorn, "except some little known foreign ones."

"Oh, please tell us about those," pleaded Ernest.

Mr. Hartshorn laughed. "You're bound to know it all, aren't you?" said he. "There are a number of European, Asiatic, and Australasian breeds, some of which are very interesting, but you will probably never see any of them and I haven't a list of them with me. When we get back to Boytown, if there are any of you boys that would like to look up these uncommon breeds, just to make your dog knowledge complete, I shall be very glad to lend you a book 273 which contains them all. For instance, there's the German boxer which has sometimes been shown in this country, and the Pyrenean sheepdog whose blood is to be found in several of our large breeds, including the St. Bernard and the Irish wolfhound. There are other European sheepdogs and hunting dogs, Asiatic greyhounds, and some queer hairless freaks. When you've looked those all up you'll know more about dogs than most naturalists do."

"Then if the breeds are all used up, I suppose the anecdotes have all been used up, too," said Jack.

Mr. Hartshorn looked at his watch. "Well, no, not quite all used up," said he. "I have thought of two or three more, and I guess we've got time for one of them to-night. It is about a tradesman of the Rue St. Denis in Paris, a man named Dumont. He had a very smart dog, but I don't know what kind of dog it was. Perhaps a terrier or a poodle. This dog was great at finding hidden articles. One day Dumont was walking with a friend in the Boulevard St. Antoine and was bragging about his dog. The friend would not believe his statements, so they laid a wager, the master claiming that the dog could find and bring home a six-livre piece hidden anywhere in the dust of the road.

"So the piece of money was hidden in the dust when the dog was not looking, and they went on a 274 mile farther. Then the dog, whose name was Caniche, was told to go back and get the coin, and he promptly started. The friend wished to wait and see how it would come out, but Dumont said, 'No, we will proceed. Caniche will bring the money home.' They accordingly went to Dumont's home and waited, but no dog appeared. The friend asserted that the dog had failed and claimed the wager, but Dumont only said, 'Be patient, mon ami; something unexpected has happened to delay him, but he will come.'

"Something unexpected had indeed happened. A traveler from Vincennes came driving along in a chaise soon after Dumont and his friend had passed that way, and his horse accidentally kicked the coin out of the dust. The traveler, seeing it glisten, got out and picked it up, and then drove on to his inn.

"When Caniche came up the money was, of course, not there, but he picked up the traveler's scent and followed his chaise to the inn. Arriving there and finding his man, Caniche proceeded to make friends with him. The traveler, flattered by this attention, and being fond of dogs, said he would like to adopt Caniche, and took him to his room. The dog settled down and appeared to be quite content.

"When bedtime came and the man began to undress, Caniche arose and barked at the door. The man, thinking this was quite natural, opened the door 275 to let him out. Suddenly Caniche turned, seized the man's breeches, which he had just taken off, and bolted out with them. There was a purse full of gold pieces in the breeches, and the traveler dashed after the dog in his nightcap and sans culottes, as the French say. Caniche made for home with the angry man after him.

"Arriving at Dumont's house, Caniche gained admittance and deposited the breeches at his master's feet. Just then the owner of the breeches burst in, loudly demanding his property and accusing Dumont of having taught his dog to steal.

"'Softly, softly,' said Dumont. 'Caniche is no thief, and he would not have done this without a reason. You have a coin in these breeches that is not yours.'

"At first the stranger denied this, and then he remembered the coin he had picked up in the Boulevard St. Antoine. Explanations followed, the breeches and gold were restored to the traveler and the six-livre piece was handed to Caniche, who returned it to his master with the air of one who had fulfilled his duty. Dumont's friend paid his wager and Dumont opened a bottle of wine, and they all drank to the health of the cleverest dog in France.

"Whether that is a true story or not you must judge for yourselves. I have told it as it was told to me, and I prefer not to vouch for it."

276 Laughing over this story, and thanking Mr. Hartshorn for telling it to them, the boys trooped off to bed.

So far as Ernest and Jack Whipple were concerned, all the interest of the second day of the Massatucket Dog Show centered about the judging of the English setters. They had been studying the entry carefully, and though there were some champions entered in the open and limit classes, and though Mr. Hartshorn pointed out to them the superior qualities of several of these dogs from the fancier's point of view, it seemed to the boys that Romulus and Remus were as good as any dogs there.

"Don't set your hopes too high," cautioned Mr. Hartshorn. "They will be pitted against some good dogs, and I don't want to see you too greatly disappointed. One has to learn to lose in the dog-show game more often than one wins."

"Anyway," said Ernest, "I haven't seen anything in the novice class that can beat them."

At last the hour arrived for the judging of the setters. The puppy class was disposed of first, and then the novices. Ernest and Jack led their own dogs into the ring, with numbers pinned to their coat-sleeves. The two dogs behaved beautifully, holding up their heads and standing at attention, as their masters had patiently taught them to do. They were both in good condition, their eyes bright and their coats 277 soft and glossy. It was quite evident to the spectators about the ring that the other dogs in the novice class were not to be compared with them. Ernest and Jack were quite unconscious of the fact that they were being observed as much as the dogs and that there were some people present who admired their bright eyes as much as those of Romulus and Remus. But it was the judge of this class that held their fixed attention.

He was a brusque, dour-looking man, without a smile for anybody, but he had a reputation for strict impartiality and for a true judgment of dog-flesh. It did not take him long to reach his decision. With no word of congratulation he handed Jack a blue ribbon and Ernest a red one, and ushered them out of the ring.

"The Remus dog has the best head and most shapely body," was all that he said.

But the spectators clapped and showered congratulations upon the boys, and they were very happy.

"I knew it, I knew it!" cried Jack in an ecstasy of triumph. "Nose doesn't count in the show ring, and Remus is, in every other way, the best dog in the world. I told you he'd have his day. Good old Remus!"

And right before all those people he leaned down and hugged his dog and kissed him on the silky ear.

278 But that was only the beginning. Remus also took first in the open class, which was more than Mr. Hartshorn had hoped for, and Romulus took third. And when it came to the final contest of the winners, Remus won reserve to Ch. The Marquis, a dog that had won his spurs in the biggest shows in the country. He was the only dog in this bunch that could beat Remus, and there were those who affirmed that in another year Remus would defeat him.

Ernest showed himself to be a good sport and was glad that Remus had won. Jack communicated his high spirits to the other boys, and by the time the afternoon was over they were in a hilarious mood and eager to bring their trophies back to Boytown. They forgot their weariness, and as the spectators began to leave the grounds, and it was proper to release the dogs, they started off pell-mell, across the central oval of the race track, boys and dogs together, shouting and barking in a gladsome chorus. It was a goodly sight for some of the grown-ups to see, and they paused to watch the frolic.

"I'm so glad Remus won," said Mrs. Hartshorn, smiling upon them all.

"Yes," responded her husband, "Jacky deserved it. He has stood by his dog through thick and thin."

As the boys and dogs came romping back, Mrs. Hartshorn observed, "Youth is a wonderful thing."

279 "Sometimes," said her husband, "I think it is a greater thing than wisdom."

Perhaps a vision of her own youth came back to her, for she leaned against her husband's arm and softly quoted:

"When all the world is young, lad,
And all the fields are green,
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen;
Then hey, for boot and horse, lad!
Around the world away!
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day."

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