About Me

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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, July 29, 2016

"jack overseas, dog of the bass drum"

"You may have heard of Jack, the little dog of the United States Artillery that chased General Pershing’s horse and made our great American commander take a short, unintentional ride one review day in France."
No, actually I hadn't - and if any friend of the Museum knows a little more about him, I'm all ears!  I have not been able to track anything about this little WWI hero who was secreted in a ship's bass drum all the way to Liverpool.  His story began in Mexico in 1916, where he was adopted as a puppy by US soldiers looking for Pancho Villa.  The regiment took their new friend to Fort Myer in Virginia that year (which is how I deduce this must have been the 12th Field Artillery Regiment), and then smuggled him aboard their ship transport to France:
* * *
How to get one little dog across the sea was an absorbing question with Jack’s friends, until some one suggested putting him into a bass drum. So into the bass drum went the little dog, with orders to keep still.
On the day of embarkation many a young soldier kept his spirits up by the thought of Jack hiding in the bass drum, when he might have been sadly depressed, thinking of loved ones he was leaving behind and might never see again.
Like a good soldier, Jack obeyed orders without asking questions. He may have heard the captain in charge of his battery solemnly tell the ship’s officers that no animals had come on board with the men of his command. . . At last the ship’s officers found out that there was a dog on board their ship. They searched for the little fellow and, before the voyage was ended, Jack had tried all the hiding places known to stowaways of his family. Ship’s officers and sailors were continually saying, “Where is that dog?” But they never found him. When eleven or twelve hundred American soldiers are united in their determination to hide the regimental dog, that pet is not likely to be caught.
* * *
By the time he chased Black Jack Pershing's horse, Jack the dog's position was unassailable, luckily for him.
 -  The whole story can be found in Fox, F. Margaret. (1927). Uncle Sam's animals: by Frances Margaret Fox. New York: The Century Co 141-7.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

vintage wednesday, ship edition

LOC, Gift; State Historical Society of Colorado; 1949http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/det1994014009/PP/
I look for ship cats and dogs, and yet what I keep finding are....goats.  How many of you have seen this one of "Pitch," the mascot of the the USS New York?  This was taken by photographer Edward H. Hart in the years between 1893-1901.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

a squirrel mug and a beautiful start

By Daderot (Own work) [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
This English earthenware mug dating from circa 1830-1860 is stout as it needs to be for a child's use.  At the same time, the lyrical illustration it bears of a feasting squirrel makes it appealing (I'd certainly like to own it).  Not only would the child using this have an example of well-executed drawing, but perhaps they also noted the squirrel too is gaining nourishment. What better encouragement for a young one?  I can hear it now: The squirrel eats breakfast, and so must you.
If you're interested, here's the website for The Potteries Museum, where you can learn more about Staffordshire wares like this one.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

getting the ship's goat?

Once upon a time, the USS Von Steuben had a goat for a mascot.  Here's what we know, as recorded in a memoir about the ship's part in WWI:
* * *
The mascot of the crew is a goat, "Billy," who is always eager to stage a mimic fight with his chums, the two dogs, "Tomatoes" and "Commodore," the latter named being the pride of Commander Wilcox. The goat is a source of much enjoyment for the crew; he pulls a varied number of funny stunts. His friends are the "boys." The Commander's dog "Commodore," after which the Hotel Commodore was named, is a favorite in the ward room. When "Commodore" is on duty in the Executive's room no one can go near it. In Panama every man had a parrot, but why mention unpleasant things?
* * *
Have I figured out which Hotel Commodore, by the way?  No.
- Ruggles, L. Elsworth. (1919). The part the U.S.S. Von Steuben played in the great war. Brooklyn, [N.Y.]: Brooklyn Eagle Press. 63.

Friday, July 22, 2016

red dog

By Franz Marc (1880–1916) (Staatsgalerie Stuttgart) [PD], via Wikimedia Commons
By the time he painted this "Roter Hund" (Red Dog" in 1911, Franz Marc had moved his studies from theology to painting.  In a way, he hadn't moved all that far, as he approached art with a search for spiritual purity that placed animals at the center of his symbolism.  Color was paramount, too: for example, red came to equal the materially bound, even violent aspects of life.  I'm not sure he had that philosophy solidified in this early work, in which a monumentally scaled dog rests in a rugged landscape.  Marc's animal symbol of choice, eventually, was the horse, and it's with horses that his work reached its full flower.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

dogs on ships: here's one

Wilhelm Hester [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Well, this is exciting - The Pet Museum is partnering with the MB Fountain over in the UK to co-curate an online exhibition of dogs on ships! This all hit me late yesterday, so I'm still prepping ideas and research. Get ready for a lot of historic/vintage photos of dogs on deck, everyone! Stay tuned!
Meanwhile, I'm starting off with this snap from back in the day in The Pet Museum's neighborhood: Capt CH Jensen & his dog on the ALSTERKAMP, Puget Sound, WA, ca 1904.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

mistaken? yet beautiful

thanks vintageprintable.com (PD)
This serene and elegant natural history illustration was labeled as a Doberman, but I think otherwise.  Not only does this creature not resemble any Doberman I've ever seen, but the inscription at the side reads "Canis venaticus Tunicus."  My usual rough Latin translation is coming up with "Hunting dog, Tunisian."  (Got a correction?  Seriously, tell me.)  So - a saluki, an Afghan Hound?  In any case, worth the moment's savoring.  If the actual piece glows like this illustration, it might be on parchment.  Look too at how fresh those colors remain after what I'm betting is at least a couple centuries, if not three.