Rigel the Dog

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Mike Herbold

Member
Just came across the following article from The New York Herald, Sunday, April 21, 1912 (reprinted in Extra Titanic) and had to share it with everybody.

SURVIVOR'S CRIES WEAK, DOG'S
BARK CAUSES RESCUE OF BOATLOAD

Rigel, Whose Master Sank with the Titanic, Guides the Car-
pathia's Captain to Suffering Passengers Hid-
den Under Rescue Ship's Bow.

Not the least among the heroes of the Titanic disaster was Rigel, a big black Newfoundland dog, belonging to the first officer, who went down with his ship. But for Rigel the fourth boat picked up might have been run down by the Carpathia. For three hours he swam in the icy water where the Titanic went down, evidently looking for his master, and was instrumental in guiding the boatload of survivors to the gangway of the Carpathia.
Jonas Briggs, a sailor aboard the Carpathia, now has Rigel and told the story of the dog's heroism. The Carpathia was moving slowly about, looking for boats, rafts, or anything which might be afloat. Exhausted with their efforts, weak from lack of food and exposure to the cutting wind, and terror stricken, the men and women in the fourth boat had drifted under the Carpathia's starboard bow. They were dangerously close to the steamship, but too weak to shout a warning loud enough to reach the bridge.
The boat might not have been seen were it not for the sharp barking of Rigel, who was swimming ahead of the craft, and valiantly announcing his position. The barks attracted the attention of Captain Rostron and he went to the starboard end of the bridge to see where they came from and saw the boat. He immediately ordered the engines stopped and the boat came alongside the starboard gangway.
Care was taken to take Rigel aboard, but he appeared little affected by his long trip through the ice cold water. He stood by the rail and barked until Captain Rostron called Briggs and had him take the dog below.
 
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Jan C. Nielsen

Member
Mike - -
This story is, very seriously, related in the 1912 edition of "Sinking of the Titanic," as well. - - Joe
 
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Peter Engberg-Klarström

Member
I never believed this story at all. Rigel is mentioned in none of the official sources; the US Senate, the British Inquiry etc. None of the survivors ever mention him. I believe the story is a complete hoax.

Peter
 
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Mike Herbold

Member
Peter:
I agree with you totally. But I couldn't tell whether it was a hoax or an embellishment or just a very gullible newspaper reporter. Or maybe it's like stories in our National Enquirer, where given enough money, somebody will concoct a good story.
It's funny that Rostron could spot the dog but nobody noticed the lifeboat, what with everybody and their mother on board Carpathia looking for survivors.
Mike
 
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Kathy A. Miles

Guest
I know the myth of Rigel has been mentioned before on this site and no one has yet been able to produce a shred of evidence that it is true. I've always assumed it was just another tall story. But the myth keeps reappearing over and over. I just found it on, of all places, the website of Petsmart.


It's almost humerous the way they describe the dog on the Carpathia as:
"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."
I wrote Petsmart a letter about it, so far, no answer. I just get annoyed with myths like that and I'm wondering if anyone else has tried to reason with people who have similar stories on their websites. Has anyone ever had any luck in getting the stories removed?
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>I wrote Petsmart a letter about it, so far, no answer.<<

Is this a surprise???
Wink


Personally, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on them to respond. This kind of golly-gee-whiz-willikers-wow stuff is just too good far anybody to want to let anything as inconvenient as the facts get in the way.
 
Dave Gittins

Dave Gittins

Member
The earliest reference I have to Rigel is in The New York Herald, 21 April 1912. It's attributed to one Jonas Briggs, who claimed to be a member of Carpathia's crew. Actually he was a lying SOB.

Your version looks like an adaptation of the Briggs story. The Herald version ends, "He stood by the rail and barked until Captain Rostron called Briggs and had him take the dog below."

I think the trouble is that people would like this touching tale to be true. Personally, I prefer the story of how Titanic's cat saved a stoker. Like Michael, I'm a sucker for cats.
 
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Randy Bryan Bigham

Member
Kathy wrote: "I just get annoyed with myths like that and I'm wondering if anyone else has tried to reason with people who have similar stories on their websites. Has anyone ever had any luck in getting the stories removed?"

I agree with you. I have had trouble in this area regarding two websites that boast information that's not just outright inaccurate but slanderous as hell. But no, I have had no luck getting the tripe removed.

The problem is there just aren't many (if any)laws governing the Internet as yet to keep crap like that from reaching the public. I've been told by one webmaster that "it is my right to write what I want whether it is true or not." How can one reason with such stupidity? The editor of the other offensive site (which carries remarks so vile a suit would be in order if conventionally published) has never replied to my concerns nor those sent by family members of the individual who is slandered.

So what can you do?
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
Huh??? A cat saved a stoker story? Now that's one I've never run into befor.
 
Kyrila Scully

Kyrila Scully

Member
My personal favorite was written by Daisy Spedden, about her son's stuffed polar bear. Now I know it's not a real animal, but it's a poignant story nonetheless, and since Daisy wrote it, it must be true.

Kyrila
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
As the re-incarnation of Rigel the wonder mutt, I object strongly to these suggestions that I didn't do my bit on the night the old canoe went down. And I'm not the only one who gets bad press these days. The poor old mummy was rowing all night like a good 'un, and you can't get that much 'Swedish steam' out of a myth, matey. As for that bloody cat, who do you think chased the moggie and her litter down the gangplank at Southampton? Me, that's who. Come on now, credit where credit's due!
 
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Randy Bryan Bigham

Member
As the reincarnation of Jenny the Titanic Cat, I take exception to Bob's infernal barking and am exceedingly annoyed at all this attention to a dog, however distinguished.
 
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monica e. hall

Member
And as the reincarnation of Rat No. 426, on hand at Boat 14 to chew through the falls after Lowe got stuck, I protest against discrimination against valiant rodents.
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
Mulholland was the man with the pudder-tat, Michael - the full yarn can be found in The Irish Aboard Titanic and a back issue of the White Star Journal...AFAIK, it's also been discussed here on ET.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
Thanks Inger. I'll have to check it out when I get the chance.
 
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