Linda Christian with her green-eyed Chihuahua, from frankphotos.
From the History of Science journal Endeavour comes the paper The nature of suicide: science and the self-destructive animal. It gives examples of reported animal suicide, including these from the 19th century:
- A "a fine, handsome and valuable black dog of the Newfoundland species" that drowned itself in 1845.
- A canvasback duck that drowned itself after its mate died.
- A cat that hanged itself following the death of its litter.
- A horse that jumped into a canal after years of mistreatment.
- Dogs that starved themselves on the graves of their masters.
"June 1964 her pet Chihuahua, jealous over the missing attention he receives over the bullfighters, jumps to his death from her terrace."Poor grammar, I know, but you understand what the writer's getting at. Jilting a pet is bad enough, but with professional animal torturers?
[Lest this post about Linda Christian's chihuahua be considered just more of the currently fashionable Christian-bashing over "petty gossip," I must admit that the Chihuahua story verges on the sensational.]
On a more positive note, not all tales of the "human fails animal" genre end in suicide: some are uplifting. If you haven't heard of the loyal Hachikō (from which at least two feature films have been made including a recent one by Lasse Hallström), then you may want to read about the touching behavior of this extraordinary Akita.
For the record I prefer dopey but basically sensible larger dogs: herders; hounds; and retrievers, especially Labs. Hardly ever suicidal.
Thanks to Mind Hacks for pointing to the journal article which is informative and thoughtful, and which I am not attempting to do justice.