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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 14, page 60, June 23, 1874 [newspaper clipping]

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Identifier: DX01324677

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 14, page 60, June 23, 1874 [newspaper clipping]

Description: Newspaper clipping describing the death of dog breeder Francis Butler from rabies.




[handwritten by Gunn] x June 23, 1874.



A Liking for our Four-footed Companions that took an Author from the School Room to the Little Dog Store in Peck Slip—A Melancholy Case of Hydrophobia.

On Tuesday night Francis Butler, the distinguished dog fancier of Peck Slip, after several hours of terrible suffering died from hydrophobia in his residence at Prospect and Bremen streets, Brooklyn. About six weeks ago a gentleman left at his place of business a small Spitz dog. The animal had been for some time ailing, and the owner wished to obtain Mr. Butler’s opinion whether the symptoms were those of hydrophobia. The veteran expert hardly believed in the existence of the disease, or at all events he had full confidence in his own ability to cure it in its worst phases. He declined to give an opinion at the time on the case, and asked that the dog might be left with him for a few days for treatment. The owner consented and went away, and Mr. Butler, as a preliminary measure, gave the animal a dose of salts. It was no easy task, for the dog was terrified at the sight of medicine, and struggled violently. The assistant held the animal, and Mr. Butler forcing its mouth open with his left hand was in the act of pouring the dose down its throat when the creature broke away from the assistant, and before Mr. Butler could move his right hand it had seized him by the thumb and lacerated it badly. Before he could fling the animal from him the finger was almost severed.

In his long experience with dogs Mr. Butler had again and again been bitten, though never so badly as on this occasion. He was not at all alarmed, however, for long familiarity with the danger had rendered him callous to it, and, like most dog fanciers, he believed that though all mankind should die of hydrophobia he at least was invulnerable. The dog evidently required close attention, and Mr. Butler decided upon taking it to his residence in Brooklyn, where he had


or under treatment. He bound up his wounded hand, and putting the dog in a basket, directed his boy to take it over. As the Roosevelt street ferry boat, by which the lad was crossing to South Seventh street, was entering the slip, the lid of the basket was unloosed, the dog sprang out and ran among the passengers on deck, snapping viciously at everybody. It seemed then to have very well defined symptoms of hydrophobia; the froth was dropping from its mouth, and its eyes had that fixed glare which its characteristic of canine madness. Every one got out of his way as quickly as possible, and not a few nearly fell into the river in their efforts to escape a worse fate than drowning. In a few moments, however, the boat entered the slip, and the passengers hastily dispersed, but not before a man, whose name has not been ascertained, had been bitten in the leg. Soon afterward a policeman killed the rabid animal.

Mr. Butler then became a little uneasy as to the result of his wound; he had it carefully poulticed and dressed, and watched it closely every day; but he was still free from any apprehension of its resulting in hydrophobia. He took precautions more with a view of alleviating the anxiety of his family than from any fear entertained on his own account.

The wound healed as rapidly as could be expected, but Mr. Butler’s general health was not good. He suffered severely from sciatica and was unable to leave his house for a long time. He suffered severely from sciatica and was unable to leave his house for a long time; his spirits sank as his strength. . . .

coverage:Brooklyn, New York, Bremen Street; Prospect Street; Roosevelt Street; South Seventh Street
coverage:Stroud, Gloucestershire, England

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1874-06-23

Type(s): Diary


Subjects: Dogs
Medical care


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