Sunday 21 October 2007

Nearer, my God, to thee.

First class passengers would have participated in an informal dog show on RMS Titanic on 12th April 1915 if the ship had not gone down. Quite a number of dogs were on board and a few survived.
Since the first lifeboats to be launched were not full, no one objected to dogs being carried in them. It is recorded that a Pomeranian belonging to Elizabeth Barrett Rothschild, 54, wife of leather magnate Martin Rothschild was lucky. Martin went down with the ship but Elizabeth and her pet survived. They were on the lifeboat 6.
Margaret Hays, 24, travelling alone, managed to carry her Pomeranian to Lifeboat 7.
Henry Sleeper Harper of the publishing company, 48, and his Pekinese went to the Lifeboat 3 and managed to escape unharmed.
As for the other dogs they drowned like their owners even though someone took pity on the dogs and let them out of their kennels, unable to bear the thought of them drowning while being trapped in there.
A canary, it would seem, also survived to the sinking!
Ann Isham, 50, refused to enter in the lifeboat without her large Great Dane. She was found in the water two days after the sinking of the ship embracing her dog.
One dog however was a real hero! The first officer's large black Newfoundland, Rigel, stayed behind with the ship. He treaded the icy waters after the sinking, desperate to find his master. At the same time, the SS Carpathia was speeding to the scene to search for survivors. In the darkness, no one saw that a lifeboat was in its path and the passengers were too weak to shout or signal their presence. Reports say Rigel swam between the lifeboat and the SS Carpathia, barking continuously. Finally, the Captain heard Rigel and ordered to stop all engines. The dog swam in front of the lifeboat and guided it to safety. Once on board, Rigel seemed physically unaffected by his ordeal. He stood with paws on the rail barking in futility for his lost master until he was taken below for food and medical attention. Jonas Brigg, one of the Carpathia’s sailors adopted Rigel.


Flowerpot said...

Good for Rigel - and I'm so glad he got a new master who I hope loved him as he deserved.

Unknown said...

Wow, I never associated pets with the Titanic, thank you for the great post!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I didn't know any of this! I wouldn't have left without my dog, either. What a hero Rigel was - and I'm so glad that part had a happy ending.

Cornish Dreamer said...

I didn't know there had been pets on board the Titanic. Rigel was certainly a hero, but how very sad.

A fantastic post ED.

Mopsa said...

What a revelation - how moving.

Whispering Walls said...

He should have been made a Companion of Honour

jmb said...

What a wonderful story Eurodog. Where did you find all this information? Fascinating.

Liz Hinds said...

There was an item on last night's local news about a Newfoundland who is being trained to rescue people. I'm going to mention it in my blog but I can't work out how to link to the video. It's on this page

Eurodog said...

Thank you all for your comments.
Liz, I saw the video clip and it confirms everything I have ever read about Newfoundlands. I shall write a post about this breed sometime because there are loads of heroic tales connected to that particular breed.

Eurodog said...

I have so many books on dogs, newspaper cuttings and so on. When I look something -not necessarily related to dogs- up on the internet, I also find a connection with dogs. Of course that's what fascinates me so maybe it just happens that way.
Very moving these heroic tales.