Bummer and Lazarus were two stray dogs that had celebrity status in San Francisco in the 1860's and were immune to the city's laws on strays
In the 1860’s there was an overflow of dogs in San Francisco, and the only way a stray could survive was to prove his worth. Preferably by being a master rat catcher.
If he was good at that, he had a fighting chance.
Bummer was such a dog, and he was allowed to settle in behind the saloon of Frederick Martin. He still had to make his own way and begged for scraps where he could find any.
In 1861 he saved another dog from a fight. The dog was badly hurt, but Bummer encouraged him to eat, brought him some scraps and huddled next to him at night to keep him warm.
He recovered, and the city folk named him Lazarus. Bummer and Lazarus became inseparable.
Luckily Lazarus was also an exceptional rat killer and together they once killed 85 rats in 20 minutes!
They became a favorite of newspaper reporters and celebrities on the San Francisco streets. So much so that, when Lazarus was taken to a pound by a dog catcher, an angry mob of citizens demanded his immediate release!
The city supervisors declared the pair immune to the city’s laws on strays.
Unfortunately Lazarus was poisoned in 1863 and Bummer died of old age in November 1865.