You might think that cosseted house pets are a modern phenomenon. It takes a certain level of affluence and leisure time to devote as much attention to them as we do, but a fun post on the history blog Wonders & Marvels reveals that even in grimier times, people were still preoccupied with their canine companions.
The post excerpts some of the nearly 500 advertisements for lost dogs that appeared in Central London newspapers between 1700 and 1800. Here’s a short one from the Public Advertiser, 1768:
Lost on Saturday last, between Whitehall and Privy Garden, a small Red Dog of the Spaniel Kind, with four white Feet., a White Snip on his Nose, a few white Hairs on the outside of his Neck, and answers to the Name of MUFF. Whoever, brings him to the Right Hon. the Earl of Waldegrave’s, at Whitehall, shall receive Half a Guinea Reward.
The notices followed a standard form: An explanation of where and when the dog was lost; a detailed physical description, along with the dog’s name, sometimes accompanied by a few notes about his personality; and finally a line about where the dog should be returned and what the returner could expect for his trouble. The half-guinea reward offered for “Muff” was a little on the stingy side. Fifteen years earlier, for example, Mr. Humphrey Wynne of Shawberry had offered five guineas for the return of a female dog “of the Setting Breed, with a red Spot on her Forehead, answers to the Name of Phillis.”
You can read more dog notices here.
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