Bummer and Lazarus were two stray dogs that roamed the streets , in the early 1860's. Recognized for their unique bond and their prodigious rat-killing ability, they became a fixture of city newspapers, were exempted from local ordinances and immortalized in cartoons.
Their ratting talent and unique bond was seized upon by the city's press. Martin's saloon was a favorite haunt of newspapermen and journalists, so, with the dogs a fixture outside the bar, they never had to travel far for a story. The exploits of the dogs were recorded in detail in the Californian, Daily Alta California, Daily Morning Call and Daily Evening Bulletin,
The two dogs had the run of the streets, and when, on June 14, 1862, Lazarus was taken by a new dog catcher, a mob of angry citizens demanded his release, petitioning to have the pair declared city property so they could wander the streets unmolested. The city supervisors released Lazarus and declared he and Bummer were exempt from the city ordinance against strays.
The two dogs were sometimes seen in the company of the eccentric Joshua Norton, "Emperor of the United States", and a popular legend made him their owner, though it seems he was reluctant to take the title.