April 2023 marks the 111th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Only 31 percent of the ship’s 2,241 human passengers and crew survived and more surprising is that three dogs made it safely to New York.
Only first class passengers were allowed to bring dogs on the voyage and many belonged to prominent families. There were 12 confirmed dogs on board the Titanic including a Toy Poodle, a Fox Terrier, a French Bulldog and millionaire John Jacob Astor’s Airedale named Kitty. The three survivors were all small enough to be smuggled onto the lifeboats—two Pomeranians(one named Lady) and a Pekinese(Sun Yat-Sen).
Most of the dogs did not live in the cabins with their family and instead were cared for by crew members in the ship’s kennel. Some of the pets were even insured, but mostly because they were considered property. However, that wasn’t the case for all of the dogs aboard the Titanic.
There are many heartbreaking stories that came out of the disaster, but as a dog lover, the tale about Ann Elizabeth Isham and her beloved Great Dane stands out. Although many passengers regarded their animals as material possessions, Ann was said to have visited her dog every day at the ship’s kennel and refused to board the life-boat without her dog.
There is a myth that circulated stating that rescuers on a recovery ship spotted the body of a woman holding onto a dog amongst the wreckage. This has never been proven or confirmed but dog lovers will understand that its entirely possible.
They included dogs, cats, chickens, other birds and an unknown number of rats. Three of the twelve dogs on the Titanic survived; all other animals perished.