Passengers definitely went about the ship with their pets. Frank Millet’s well-known letter, posted at Queenstown, mentions a number of "ostentatious American women" carrying their little dogs around the deck. Whether the animals all stayed with their owners at night is a matter for debate. We know of at least three survivors who got into lifeboats with their pets — Henry Sleeper Harper, Margaret Hays and Lizzie Rothschild —— so it seems fairly obvious they were with their owners at the time of the collision. It’s believed by many that Robert Daniel, who had a dog of his own aboard, was the one who opened the kennels during the sinking, freeing what animals were there. Others dispute this. We will likely never know.
There were rumors of a large dog, supposedly a Great Dane, that was seen in the water after the sinking. It was a widely published story in 1912-13 but there’s not much reliable documented evidence about this sighting.
Being an animal lover, passengers and their pets have fascinated me. Two survivors I’ve researched were passionate dog owners — Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon and Edith Rosenbaum Russell. At one time Lucy had three Pekingese, three Chows and an Airedale. They were as much a part of her family as her daughter and grandchildren, and were often photographed with her. Edith was a professional Pekingese fancier and breeder, very active in the dog shows in America. She wrote a whole column about the military dogs used during WWI which she witnessed during her time imbedded with the troops as a journalist commissioned by the Red Cross.
This excerpt from Katherine Force's personal papers (as recorded by Dr. Kimball) has appeared online in several places and gives some insight into the Astor's pet airdale while onboard.
“The Astor party. . . included Kitty, Colonel Astor’s favorite Airedale terrier, that had traveled all over the world with him. The two were inseparable companions for years, and . . pathetically Mrs. Astor told of how Kitty got lost in Egypt on the trip up the Nile. She wandered away form Colonel Astor’s side one day at a landing and [he] was greatly distressed by the loss of the dog. He spent a great deal of time looking for her, and when he had to give up and start [sailing] up the Nile again he employed scores of natives to look for her, promising a handsome reward for her return. Nothing was heard of Kitty until on the return trip [downriver] when on passing another dahabea [boat]. Colonel Astor spotted Kitty making herself at home on board. The Astor boat was stopped and Kitty found her master with joyous barks. After that, a closer watch was kept of Kitty on board the Titanic. She slept in Colonel Astor’s room. Colonel and Mrs. Astor took frequent walks and he romped with Kitty a great deal.'
That passage is actually from The New York Herald of 22 April 1912. It's part of a fairly long article about the Astors.
There is a long thread about the animals on the titanic-titanic forum. It goes into considerable detail and considers the position of the dog kennels, which is by no means settled. It also looks at the question of who, if anybody, released the dogs. It's a complicated tale and contradictory plans don't help.
"From the notes of Madeline Astor’s sister, Katherine Force, and family physician Dr. Reuel Kimball, April 22, 1912, as recorded by Dr. Kimball" is the reference I get for the story in several places and websites, along with reference to a letter from W.H. Dobbyn as written to Robert Ferguson, an employee of the Astor Trust about one month after the disaster.The Dobbyn letter was among Walter Lord's possessions, received in 1986-so, am I am not sure where the Kitty story originated from to begin with, or how it came to be in Katherine's papers along with the Kimball account.
Were animals allowed in the public rooms like the Lounge, the Smoking Room, the Dining and the Reception Room? I'm not referring the small dogs which could be hided in their owners coats but bigger dogs, like the Airedale. And did the crew permit their presence in the lifts?
"Clemency: We've been torpedoed! Oh, Mother! What shall we do? Millicent: Get the jewelry."
Where is this quote taken from? I've always wondered.
Thanks for the link to titanic-titanic. I had never come across that site before. Reading that thread actually answered a question I was going to post. Years ago, I remember a mention in some book about Edith Russell leaving a puppy (as it was called) in the cabin with a farewell kiss during the sinking. Now I realize it was somebody else's puppy and somebody else's cabin.
Hi Brian It is from a book called, 'The American Heiress' which begins on the last voyage of the Lusitania. Eerily, the story of Clemency and her half sister bears a resemblence to the real life story of Lusitania survivor Beatrice Witherbee. Mike