Pets Down the Centuries
Pets and their people through history
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Florence Nightingale saved a little owl who had fallen out of its nest in Greece.She called it Athena, hand-feeding her, training her to bow and curtsy and kept her safely in the pocket of her apron. They were together for 5 years.
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"Blind and deaf since the age of 19 months, Helen Keller was an inspirational writer and speaker, and one of the most admired figures in the 20th century. She was an avid animal lover and had many canine companions throughout her long life, including her beloved pit bull, Sir Thomas."
Dash was the name of Queen Victoria’s beloved spaniel. Dash’s tombstone is inscribed with the following message written by the Queen herself: "Here lies Dash, the favorite spaniel of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, by whose command this memorial was erected. He died on the 20th December 1840 in his ninth year. His attachment was without selfishness, his playfulness without malice, his fidelity without deceit. Reader, if you would live beloved and die regretted, profit by the example of Dash.”
Charles Dicken's had a Raven called Grip. He was most fond of it and had it stuffed when it died. Grip was the inspiration behind Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven. Grip currently resides in the Philadelphia Rare Book Department.
Ramses II The pharaoh was a big fan of cats. He had many of them imported from neighboring countries, including a lion that he kept as a personal pet. He fought alongside it in combat, and it notably stayed by his side in the Battle of Kadesh against the Hitites, when many of his own generals fled.
Nero This Roman emperor was said to only care about one creature: his pet tigress Phoebe. Nero apparently discovered her during a Colosseum game, where he noted she had the ferocity of three tigers. Unwilling to let such a fearsome beast be killed, he had her spared and took her in as his own. He is said to have dined with the tigress at his feet, even when guests were over.
Josephine Bonaparte Napoleon’s first wife, Josephine Bonaparte, had quite the collection of bizarre pets. The most famous is probably her orangutan, which she would dress up in a gorgeous white chemise. She would even allow the orangutan to sit at the dinner table with them, and her guests all agreed it was very well-behaved.
in1784, a delighted Mozart purchased a starling, writing down it's song. Three years later, he buried it with much ceremony. Heavily veiled mourners marched in a procession, sang hymns, and listened to a graveside recitation of a poem Mozart had composed for the occasion.