Please Adopt Me, Bummer's Story
In 1861, San Francisco's most famous dog, Bummer, a mangy stray first came to notice when workmen excavating a site near the wharf uncovered a huge nest of dreaded rats. The hated rats which had carried much pestilence to the city were immediately set upon by Bummer who, much to the delight of those watching, wiped out the entire swarm. Bummer soon became a citywide hero for his rat-killing talents and the newspapers published his daily exploits. Local restaurateurs even competed to feed him leftovers. Local businessmen signed a petition to exempt Bummer from an ordinance that called for strays to be shot, stating that, "the whole city owns him, and yet nobody owns him." Bummer and later his mangy sidekick, Lazarus were a common sight on the Barbary Coast and the subject of legend for many years.

When Bummer died, thousands of San Franciscans showed up for his funeral procession, four quatrains of elegy were published in the newspaper and Mark Twain, then a young reporter, wrote a wry obituary stating Bummer had died "full of years, and honor, and disease, and fleas." San Francisco's love affair with dogs has continued, in the most recent census it was noted that there are more dogs than children in San Francisco.
[ MAP D-12 ]


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