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Charles Dickens’s terriers

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The description of Dickens’s welcome by his dogs on his return from America – how they lifted their heads to have their ears pulled, an attention received from him alone; how Linda [a mastiff], weeping profusely, threw herself on her back that she might caress his foot with her large forepaws; and how the terrier, Mrs Bouncer, barking furiously, “tore around him like the dog in the Faust outlines” – will show at once the tender relations that existed between the great novelist and his canine friends but we must not omit little Snittle Timbery, a present from Mitchell, the comedian, during Dickens’s first visit to America. Timber Doodle was the original name of the small shaggy white terrier, but Snittle Timbery was deemed by his new owner to be more sonorous and expressive.

May 8, 1881 New York Times

 Picture by Dan Burn-Forti, for the Independent on Sunday Review.

Today, in the main arena at Crufts, 21 dogs will take a musical lap of the ring to “Land of Hope and Glory”. They will be accompanied by handlers dressed as British historical characters associated with the breeds: “The Duke of Newcastle” with a clumber spaniel; “Beatrix Potter” with a Lakeland terrier; and “Bill Sikes” from Oliver Twist (“historical” is interpreted loosely here) with his miniature bull terrier, Bullseye.

Hermione Eyre. Independent. Sunday, 9 March 2008


Written by aterrier

July 30, 2008 at 2:03 am

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Bull’s Eye from Oliver Twist

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Bill Sikes’s dog, Bull’s-eye, has “faults of temper in common with his owner” and is an emblem of his owner’s character. The dog’s viciousness represents Sikes’s animal-like brutality, while Sikes’s self-destructiveness is evident in the dog’s many scars. The dog, with its willingness to harm anyone on Sikes’ whim, shows the mindless brutality of the master. Sikes himself senses that the dog is a reflection of himself and that is why he tries to drown the dog. He is really trying to run away from who he is. This is also illustrated when Sikes dies and the dog does immediately also.[15] After Sikes murders Nancy, Bull’s-eye also comes to represent Sikes’s guilt. The dog leaves bloody footprints on the floor of the room where the murder is committed. Not long after, Sikes becomes desperate to get rid of the dog, convinced that the dog’s presence will give him away. Yet, just as Sikes cannot shake off his guilt, he cannot shake off Bull’s-eye, who arrives at the house of Sikes’s demise before Sikes himself does. Bull’s-eye’s name also conjures up the image of Nancy’s eyes, which haunts Sikes until the bitter end and eventually causes him to hang himself accidentally.
From Wikipedia

Written by aterrier

June 23, 2008 at 11:26 am