We saw some interesting mystery objects from the past during our recent visit to Albany. Like these two porcelain dogs, for example. They just look like little ornaments, but actually served a useful function in the 19th century.
They are actually a pair of Staffordshire quill stands, which were useful writing desk items in the days before they invented modern pens. You can see them at Strawberry Hill Old Farm in Albany, which was built in 1835-6 and later extended.