[Ed. Note. Mark Twain left his job as a reporter for the Daily Morning Call in October 1864. In late February 1866 he received a job as a correspondent for the Sacrament Daily Union and traveled to the Sandwich Islands. Twain spent over five months in the Sandwich Islands and sent back twenty-five letters that were published in the Union. When Twain returned to California he began a series of lectures on the Sandwich Islands. When he arrived back in San Francisco in December 1866, the city was in the midst of a controversy regarding a number of stray dogs that had been shot. This contribution to the Call was Twain's first since he had left the paper as a local reporter in 1864. This article also appeared the day before Twain was scheduled to give his Sandwich Islands lecture in San Francisco.]
'MARK TWAIN' ON THE DOG QUESTION - RULES TO SAVE THE CANINES. - The philosopher and Independent Missionary puts forth the following rules, which will render a dog insensible to bullet wounds:
1. Take your dog (if he be a black dog, with spots on him,) and soak him over night in a tank of turpentine, and then ignite him in the morning. After this, bullets cannot distress him.
2. If he be a thin-skinned dog of the species called Poodle, remove his internal arrangements carefully and fill him up with sawdust, sawdust is impervious to bullets.
3. If he be a valuable speckled dog, take off his hide and line it with sheet iron. Russia iron is best, and is slicker and more showy than the common kind. Dogs prepared in this way do not mind bullets.
4. The presence of the dog is often betrayed to the Policeman by his bark. Remove the bark from his system and your dog is safe. This may be done by mixing a spoonful of the soother called strychnine in his rations. It will be next to impossible to ever get that dog to bark any more.
5. When you see a Policeman coming after your dog, make the animal go off and get out of the way. It is easily accomplished. Let the dog eat a moderate quantity of nitro-glycerine -- from four to sixteen pounds, according to his size -- and bounce him on the ground a couple of times. This will make him go off.
6. But the surest and safest course to pursue, is always to keep your dog around where riots and other aggravated disturbances of the peace are going on.
[transcribed from microfilm]
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