heroic dog stories

Animals Adrift | The True Story of the Dogs Aboard the Titanic

animals adrift - dogs aboard the titanic

Would you be willing to die for your dog?

That’s the decision a woman faced aboard the Titanic on April 14th, 1912. As the titanic plunged to the bottom of the ocean, she was asked to board a lifeboat. However, the woman insisted that she would not go onto the lifeboat without her Great Dane.

The woman was told that she must leave her Great Dane behind to preserve room on the boat. In response, she refused to board. Several hours later, the woman and her Great Dane died together.

Lady and Sun-Yat-Sen

Although nine dogs aboard the titanic, among them the Great Dane, died, not all of the animals faced tragic endings. Three dogs, Lady, Sun-Yat-Sen and one whose name is unknown, were able to escape death in nearly unbelievable fashions.

Lady was a Pomeranian dog owned by Margaret Hays. Hays was in in her cabin asleep when she was given the order to evacuate. She scooped up Lady, wrapped her in a blanket, and was able to smuggle her on board a lifeboat without anyone noticing.

Sun-Yat-Sen, meanwhile, was a Pekinese dog owned by Myna Harper and her husband Henry S. Harper, heir to Harper & Row, a publishing company that is now a parent under HarperCollins. Sun-Yat-Sen was taken aboard a lifeboat that was apparently spacious. The dog made it back to shore.

The Other Dogs Aboard the Titanic

The other dog who survived was another Pomeranian owned by Margaret Hays. One can imagine that this dog was saved in similar fashion to Lady.

The dogs aboard the titanic who didn’t make it included a King Charles Spaniel breed, a French Bulldog, several Ariedales, and a Fox Terrier, along with the Great Dane whose owner refused to board the lifeboat.

Following the sinking, a family made a successful lawsuit regarding the loss of their two dogs aboard the titanic. Meanwhile, a New York Herald article fabricated a long-lasting myth that one of the dogs aboard the titanic helped save a group of passengers before it died.

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