Nessa, Wolfhound, Dies Of Grief at Death of Duck Pal

If ever a human being died "of a broken heart." not less certainly did Nessa, Irish wolfhound belonging to Rosemarie, daughter of his friend, Commissioner Eugene K: Sturgis, of Oakland. go to his grave because he could not bear to live without Duckie, his pal and friend. And the strangest part of the friendship that brought such grief to the dog was that his pal was a duck, of just the ordinary quacking farmyard variety.

Dr. J. J. Hogarty, veterinary surgeon performed an autopsy on Nessa and even science, which takes little stock in such sentimental ideas as "broken hearts," in this instance corroborates the evidence. Nessa died of "aneurysm" the autopsy disclosed. There's a lot more to it but stripped of scientific wrappings, it means that the walls of the arteries gave way under a terrific pumping of blood. It might be produced by a number of things, including such emotions as fright or great grief.

A few days ago, The TRIBUNE carried a story of the "oddly mated pair." Nessa and Duckie. and their strange devotion. Nessa and Duckie belonged to Rosemarie Sturgis. The dog was a recent gift from Mrs. A. T. Pettey, Sequoyah Hills dog fancier.

The moment that Nessa arrived at the Sturgis home he struck up an acquaintance with Duckie and within a couple of days they hecame inseparable pals. They ate together, played together, slept together, and were never a moment apart. The curious friendship attracted wide attention.

Nessa, the giant Irish wolfhound, and Duckie, the farmyard duck, lived in the same house. Duckie slept cuddled as closely as possible to Nessa's broad back.

Three nights ago Nessa was restless, had bad dreams, as dogs as well a humans do. Some time in the night he rolled over on Duckie. and his 160 pounds of bone and sinew crushed Duckie to death before the poor little duck had time to utter a single quack of warning.


Next morning attendants at the S. P. C. A. home, where the dog and duck were boarding during their owner's absence from the city, found a frantic dog rushing around the body of his pal, pausing every few moments to snuggle a loving nose against the feathers of his friend.

All day, after the body of the duck had been removed, Nessa walked restlessly about the place, sniffing, sniffing, sniffing at the kennel where he and Duckie had lived. He searched every place where he and his pal were accustomed to play, but as the day wore on he apparently grew convinced that his playmate was gone. In the early afternoon he ceased his restless roaming up and down the yard and retired to his kennel. That night he refused to come out for his supper, although he was not sick and had been in the best of health the day before.

Next morning Nessa was dead. Not a mark, not a scratch, nothing to indicate that he had been ill during the night.

The autopsy disclosed the scientific explanation that the dog had an aneurysm. But then science doesn't take into account that dogs, just like human beings, experience love and suffer grief, and "aneurysm" is as near, as science can come to saying that Nessa, loving his little playmate with a devotion not found in many humans, died from a broken heart.

Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California June 19th, 1928

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