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Remembering the dogs of the Titanic - 107 years ago

Along with its passengers and crew, it is reported that twelve dogs were also on board Titanic for her unforgettable maiden voyage according to J. Joseph Edgette from Widener University.

The twelve canines were brought on board by ten of Titanic’s First Class passengers and their families, including John Jacob Astor.

Only three of the twelve boarded Titanic at Southampton with the rest boarding at Titanic’s first stop, Cherbourg (France). 

Some of the dog breeds included: French Bulldog, Pekingese, Toy Poodle, Chow, Pomeranian, Airedale and a Great Dane, with a number of other breeds unknown. 

By all accounts Titanic was very dog-friendly, with excellent kennel facilities for the canine guests on-board. 

It has been reported that there was even supposed to be a dog show on Titanic on April 15th, 1912 but the ship sank before that could happen ...

The ship’s captain Captain Smith was photographed on board Titanic with his Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound) named Ben. However, Ben only spent one night on the ship, before it left the dock, and was returned home to Captain Smith’s daughter. Lucky Ben!

So what happened to the dogs when the ship was sinking? 

Most of the dogs were kept in kennels on the F Deck of the ship, and it was the job of the ship's carpenter to take care of them on a daily basis. They got exercise and a bathroom break once a day.   

Out of the twelve dogs on board, only three survived Titanic’s tragic sinking: one Pekingese and two Pomeranians. 
The Pomeranians were brought onto lifeboats by their mistresses, Margaret Hays and Mrs Elizabeth Barrett Rothschild. A Pekingese named Sun Yat Sen was saved by his master, Henry S. Harper, in Lifeboat 3. 

The three dogs that lived all had one thing in common: they were tiny. So small that the people who were being left behind by the lifeboats probably didn’t notice them being carried along... 

In a particularly touching account, one passenger, 50-year old Ann Elizabeth Isham, was said to have visited her Great Dane in the ship’s kennels daily. At one point, she was seated in a life boat, but when told that her dog was too large to join her, she exited the boat. Her body was found several days later, clutching onto her dog in the icy waters.

As a dog lover, can you imagine having to make the decision to leave your dog behind when the ship began to sink?

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