Archive for the ‘Dog Mascots’ Category

BRTTrolleyChildren

Children play in a stalled, empty trolley car that wasn’t blown up during the Brooklyn Rapid Transit strike in July 1899. 

On July 16, 1899, a small group of motormen and conductors for the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) street car lines went on strike. These men left their empty cars stalled in the road, and then, in some instances, used dynamite to blow them up.

Not wanting a repeat of the deadly riots that took place during the January 1895 BRT strike, the New York City Police Department immediately sent 25 patrol wagons from Manhattan and the Bronx to Brooklyn to rein in the trouble-making strikers. As it turns out, the police weren’t needed for long. A large number of workers refused to go out this time around, and the strike came to a quiet end within a week.

For the policemen of Manhattan’s Leonard Street Station — aka the new Eighth Precinct — doing strike duty in Brooklyn meant spending a lot of time riding on the operational trolley cars looking for trouble. It was during this week that they “adopted” a big, brown, half-starved shaggy dog (sort of a cross between a Newfoundland and a setter) who would change their lives for the better. They named him Strike.

19LeonardStreet1999

When this story takes place, the Eighth Precinct station house was at 19-21 Leonard Street in Manhattan’s Tribeca. Here’s the building as it appeared in 1999.

Right from the start, Strike was on the job with his fellow police officers. As the men road back and forth on the trolley lines, Strike would leap from the car and start biting or barking at any strikers causing excitement.  To reward this stray dog for his duties, the policemen of the Eighth Precinct brought him back to Leonard Street, ordered a collar with his new name, and had him properly licensed.

Strike’s Daily Routine

Every morning, Strike would attend roll call by sitting at the sergeant’s desk and waiting for all the men’s names to be called. During the day, he spent a lot of time outside the station, where the neighborhood children would gather to play with him.

Strike liked the children, but his favorite people were the uniformed police officers (the plain clothes officers had to be at the station quite a while before he’d warm up to them). He also liked all the restaurant keepers within the boundaries of the precinct — especially those he had “trained” to feed him.

Three times a day, Strike would visit his favorite restaurants (he’d mixed it up so he wouldn’t wear out his welcome), and wait for someone to bring him a package of meat scraps tied with string. Placing the string in his mouth, Strike would carry the food back to the police station, where an officer had to properly lay it out in his favorite eating spot in the back room. Sometimes the officers would give him a nickel, which he would carry to the bakery to purchase his favorite ginger cake.

One day about five years after Strike moved into the Leonard Street station house, an officer found a Newfoundland on the downtown platform of the Chambers Street elevated station. The dog had a collar that said “J.J. Atkinson, Raymond, Lafayette” and he was running about as if he had lost his master and was hunting for him. The police thought the dog must have come from Lafayette, N.J.; I hope they eventually realized that there was a J.J. Atkinson saloon on the corner of Raymond Street (now Ashland Place) and Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn!

The policeman brought the dog back to the station house, where he stayed for quite a while (courtesy of Captain Dennis Sweeney). During this dog’s extended visit, Strike learned to bark longer and louder in order to encourage the waiters to give him more food so that he could share his meal with his new canine friend.

BroadwayatLeonard

Strike visited his favorite restaurants every day, like those on Broadway at Leonard Street, pictured here in this montage of photos taken in 1895. NYPL digital collections

Strike Makes a Few Collars

Over the years, Strike assisted in many arrests. One time when a prisoner tried to escape the station house, Strike grabbed him by the coattails and dragged him back. Another time he helped Policeman Cleveland capture two vagrants who had been begging throughout the district for some time.

As the story goes, Strike was asleep on the rug under the sergeant’s desk when he heard the rapping of a policeman’s club outside. He and Policeman Brennan ran outside the station and got a glimpse of Policeman Cleveland in pursuit of two men dressed in United States Navy uniforms. Strike took off and caught one man by his trousers while the officers caught the other man. Both men were charged with vagrancy (they weren’t actual sailors).

Strike was also skilled in delivering notes for the men. If he was out with a roundsman and the officer wanted to send a message to the station house, Strike would carry the note in his mouth to the sergeant and return promptly with an answer, if there was one.

StrikePoliceDog

Here is Strike carrying his package of meat scraps to Policeman Furlong in July 1906 (New York Daily Tribune)

Strike Rescues a Few Kittens

Although Strike was known as a cat hater, that all changed on the night of June 8, 1906. According to the news reports, at about 8 p.m. while walking home with his dinner on Hudson Street, Strike came upon a cat and dog fighting. Apparently, the mother cat had been nursing her kittens in a doorway when the dog attacked and killed her.

With three motherless kittens staring up at him, Strike dropped his meat package, tackled the bulldog, and put one of the kittens in his mouth. He carried the kitten to the back room of the police station where several policemen were playing dominoes, dropped the kitten at their feet, and ran back out. A minute later, he returned with the second kitten.

On his next trip out, Roundsmen Borener and Saul followed him to 78 Hudson Street, where they found Roundsmen Blohm bending over a dead cat and dog. Strike took charge of the third kitten and carried it back to the police station.

A month later, the kittens were still at the station house. On sunny days, they could be seen on the steps tumbling all over their canine caregiver and demanding his attention.

A Brief History of the Leonard Street Police Station

Throughout the seventeenth and most of the eighteenth centuries, the area of Manhattan that we call Tribeca was open land, much of which was held by Trinity Church (to the west) and by Anthony Rutgers (the swampland to the east). In 1741, Leonard Lispenard, a leaseholder of a large tract of land belonging to Trinity Church, married Rutgers’s daughter Elsie.

After Rutger’s death in 1746, most of his holdings went to Leonard and Elsie, and the large area to the east became known as Lispenard’s Meadows. Leonard Street between present-day Hudson Street and West Broadway was the southern tip of the meadows; the center of the meadows is about where Lispenard Street is today.

LispenardsMeadows2

Leonard Street was laid out around 1797 as a twenty-seven-and-a-half-foot-wide street and ceded to the city in 1800. It was widened in 1806 and immediately developed with frame and masonry residences, none of which remain standing today.

LispenardsMeadows3

In the 1700s, Lispenard’s Meadows was home to one of the city’s earliest race tracks. As noted in the American Magazine in 1899, the track was conveniently located near the country seats of Peter Warren, Abraham Mortier, William Bayard, and James Tauncey.

19-21 Leonard Street

Designed by Nathanial D. Bush as a police station and prison for the City of New York, 19-21 Leonard Street was constructed in 1868 on two lots previously occupied by masonry residences. The four-story Italianate building of red brick and white stone trim also featured apartments for lodging indigent persons.

The station house was occupied by the Fifth Precinct — renamed the Eighth Precinct in May 1898 — which had previously been stationed at 49 Leonard Street. The Fifth Precinct was bounded by Warren Street, the west track of the West Street Railroad, Canal Street, and Broadway; it was also known as “the dry goods district.”

LeonardStreetLodgingRoom1890

In the late 1800s, the Leonard Street Police Station served as a lodging house for indigents. As photographer Jacob Riis notes, “At the police station the roads of the tramp and the tough again converge.” NYPL digital collections

Strike Leaves This World

As Strike got older, the hot summers took a toll on him. By 1908, he was about 17 years old and had lost almost all his teeth. Following several illnesses, it was decided that it was time to put him out of his misery. On September 13, 1908, Lieutenant Von Beborsky was called on to humanely dispatch the beloved mascot.

Five years after Strike’s death, on December 1, 1913, the precinct was abolished and the building was vacated and converted for commercial use.

Over the years, occupants have included Cordley & Hayes Corporation, the Standard Rice Company, the Ronald Paper Company, the Hailer Elevator Company, and the Empire Elevator Corp. Today the old station house at 19-21 Leonard Street — where policemen, vagrants, prisoners, cats, and a dog named Strike once converged — is a condominium with five apartments.

19 Leonard Street New York

19-21 Leonard Street was converted into condo lofts in the mid-1990s.

For more on the history of 19-21 Leonard Street, check out Daytonian In Manhattan, who, ironically, posted a story about the station house the same day as I posted mine.

 

“Jiggs was the dog who started out as a lithe, slim pup who ran yelping and barking just ahead of the three beautiful horses that pulled old “205.” But Jiggs fell into evil ways. He became a connoisseur of Borough Hall restaurant kitchens. A gourmet. Things came to such a pass that Jiggs fell down on his job of leading the fire engine. He grew to the proportions of a Shetland pony . . .” –Brooklyn Standard Union, 1929

Jiggs Engine 205 Dalmatian

Paunchy with good living and good fellowship with chefs and motorists, it should be beside the fireside rather than inside the fire line for Jiggs.” Brooklyn Standard Union, August 25, 1923

When 8-year-old Jiggs died on September 14, 1925, he was called “Brooklyn’s fattest dog” in his “obituary” in The Brooklyn Standard Union. You see, Jiggs had a bad habit of making the daily rounds at the Brooklyn Borough Hall restaurants, and when he died, he tipped the scales at 121 pounds.

It wasn’t his weight, though, that killed him. Jiggs was “humanely dispatched” by the Brooklyn SPCA because he had reportedly become a grumpy old man in his final year of retirement.

A St. Patrick’s Day Puppy

Jiggs was born on March 17, 1917, and presented to Engine Company 205 in Brooklyn Heights on Memorial Day of that year. Right away, he bonded with 39-year-old Engineer Thomas J. “Smoke” McEwan. Over the years, he rarely left his side.

Thomas J. McEwan

Although Jiggs would answer to any man in uniform who gave him orders, he would only follow Smoke McEwan. The two were inseparable. If you saw Jiggs anywhere downtown, you could bet Smoke wasn’t far away.

Jiggs also took a liking to Bum and her kittens. Bum was a Brooklyn aristocrat and the long-time mascot cat of Engine 205. Her mother had been found cold and starving on the street near the firehouse on Pierrepont Street in 1909. Bum and all her siblings stayed in the neighborhood, but only Bum was lucky enough to get a permanent home at the fire station.

Jiggs was quite hyperactive in his youth, and would bark and jump around like crazy whenever the gong rang for a fire. Bath time was also a struggle for Smoke and fireman Frank Wolf, but somehow they managed to bathe Jiggs four times a week.

Sometimes young Jiggs would get a little too friendly or too ambitious. Once he tried to make friends with one of the horses and got booted through a rear window. Another time he broke his leg while trying to slide down the pole.

Steam Engine Company No. 5, Brooklyn Heights

Engine 205 was Brooklyn’s oldest, most famous, and most influential fire company. It was organized as Steam Engine Company No. 5 on September 15, 1869, by young, upstanding men from wealthy families of downtown Brooklyn. The company’s first firehouse was located at 160 Pierrepont Street.

Jiggs Meets Chef Martin

During those first few years as a fire buff, Jiggs never weighed more than 71 pounds. He was fast with the horses and always present on every call, no matter the size of the fire or incident.

But then he struck up a friendship with John Martin, a chef in Joe’s Restaurant at the corner of Fulton and Pierrepont streets. John couldn’t help but give the dog a few treats every day, and with a menu that listed over 400 food choices, there was plenty to go around for Jiggs.

Joe's Restaurant Fulton Avenue Brooklyn

Joseph Balzarini and Joseph Sartori, both Italian immigrants, opened Joe’s Restaurant in 1909. Located just around the corner from Brooklyn’s insurance, political, and financial hub, it was the place to go for politicians and brokers as well as families and fire dogs. The building was demolished in 1959; today this is the site of 1 Pierrepont Plaza, the 2016 presidential campaign headquarters for Hilary Clinton.

After meeting John Martin, Jiggs discovered other friendly chefs at nearby restaurants. Chefs encouraged the dog to eat and often bragged about the fact that the famous fire dog preferred his restaurant kitchen to another.

No Diet and No Exercise

Fire dogs are tough but they have three enemies: accidents, colds and overweight. The last is the worst. Now that the days of running to fires with the horses are gone they need to watch their figures, and they have too many kind friends. — New York Sun, December 7, 1940

Clarendon Hotel, Brooklyn

Another of Jigg’s favorites was the Clarendon Grill at the Clarendon Hotel, at 284 Washington Street (now Cadman Plaza East). This 1890 hotel, designed by Brooklyn architect J.G. Glover, replaced the first Clarendon, which was damaged in the deadly Brooklyn Theater fire of 1876. The Clarendon, the old Brooklyn Eagle building, and other buildings were torn down in the 1950s to make way for Cadman Plaza.

Jiggs couldn’t have become a canine epicurean at the worst time in the history of the New York Fire Department. Only 11 years before, Commissioner Rhinelander Waldo proposed motor-driven fire apparatus for the FDNY. One by one, each company replaced its horses with motorized apparatus. Brooklyn’s Engine 205 was the last to relinquish its horses in 1922.

With the horses gone, Jiggs could no longer get his daily exercise. Refusing to be pensioned off and sent to a retirement farm, Jiggs tried running with the motorized apparatus a few times, but it nearly killed him. An overweight Dalmatian was no match for a motorized engine that could go 30 to 40 miles an hour.

With the horses gone, Jiggs could no longer get his daily exercise. Refusing to be pensioned off and sent to a retirement farm, Jiggs tried running with the motorized apparatus a few times, but it nearly killed him. An overweight Dalmatian was no match for a motorized engine that could go 40 miles an hour.

Engine Company No. 205 Brooklyn

On the morning of December 20, 1922, Fire Commissioner Thomas J. Drennan, Brooklyn Borough President Edward Riegelmann, firefighters, city dignitaries, and Jiggs gathered in back of Brooklyn Borough Hall to pay their final tribute to the last fire horses of Engine 205.

By 1923, Jiggs weighed 118 pounds. Twice the firemen sent him to an exclusive farm for canine reduction treatments, but both times he made his way back to Pierrepont Street. Then on October 12, 1923, Jiggs was taken to the Ellin Prince Speyer Free Hospital for Animals at 350 Lafayette Street in Manhattan to be treated for painful swelling in his right paw, which turned out to be gout.

Jiggs was reportedly put on a strict diet and did lose some weight over the next two months. But before long, when Smoke McEwan wasn’t watching him very carefully, Jiggs got back into his bad ways and was soon as heavy as ever.

By the summer of 1925, Jiggs was reportedly “fatter and lazier than ever.” He spent his days laying outside the firehouse sunning himself, and, as the firemen said, never partook in “any feminine activities such as dieting to reduce.” Captain Leon Howard told the press that the men never fed Jiggs – he fed himself – and that the fatter he got, the more he found to eat.

Jigg, coach dog of Engine No. 205

Jiggs howled in sorrow as his horse friends were bid farewell as Smoke McEwan tried to console him.

In July 1925, Engine Company 205 was relocated to 274 Hicks Street. For Jiggs, Hicks Street was a long way from Borough Hall and all his favorite restaurants. Unable to adjust to the change, what Smoke once called “the best natured dog in the world” soon grew remorse and ill tempered.

That month, Jiggs nipped at a passerby who had reportedly kicked him in the paw. The man, 38-year-old Alexander Kyle of 78 Kingston Avenue, was treated at Long Island Hospital for a bite on the right leg. Jiggs was transferred to the pound in a wagon donated by the Brooklyn Standard Union (the distance was too great for him to walk), were he was detained for 10 days as authorities confirmed that he didn’t have rabies.

Upon his release from the pound, Jiggs was issued a silver-plated muzzle and a dog license. Fire Commissioner Thomas J. Drennan told Captain Howard, “Put him back on active duty. He will neither be fined nor his pay deducted. Jiggs is one of the best dogs in the history of the Fire Department.”

Apparently Jiggs didn’t wear the muzzle, because two months later, the men of Engine 205 had to call in the SPCA to “dispatch” their fire dog. He was reportedly snapping at many people, including children, and was a danger to the public. Sadly, Smoke was on vacation at the time, and the men were not able to locate him before Jiggs was put to death.

274 Hicks Street, Brooklyn

Jiggs was not a happy dog when Engine Company 205 was relocated to 274 Hicks Street in 1925. Today this 1903 landmark building is home to Engine Company 224.

When Jiggs died in 1925, the old Engine 205 firehouse on Pierrepont Street died too. For some time, the 1869 building was used as a “parking space” for the mounted police, who would drop their horses off there when they went downtown for lunch or dinner. In the 1940s and 50s, the building served as the headquarters for the Kings County American Legion. Today, there’s a large office building on the site which houses Brooklyn’s Social Security Office.

These days, Engine 205 and Ladder 118 make their home at 74 Middagh Sreet. On September 11, 2001, both companies rushed over the Brooklyn Bridge to get to the World Trade Center. The men of Engine 205 arrived first, but most of their lives were spared when they had to carry the body of a fallen firefighter from another company to an ambulance a block away, out of the immediate danger zone. Sadly, Lt. Robert Walsh and Captain Martin Egan Jr. were also killed.

Lt. Robert Regan, Lt. Joe Agnello, and firefighters Leon Smith, Vernon Cherry, Scott Davidson, and Peter Vega of Ladder 118 were last seen running up the stairs of the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel to help the panicked guests. All six men were killed while trying to save others.

Ladder 118 9/11

Ladder 118 lost six men on 9/11. Lt. Robert Wallace and Capt. Martin Egan, who used to work in the Middagh Street house but were detailed elsewhere that day, were also killed in the terrorist attacks.

Here is the photograph that captured Ladder 118 speeding across the Brooklyn Bridge toward the flaming towers. I have a feeling that if this photo had been taken 80 years earlier, we’d see a horse-drawn ladder truck with a Dalmatian named Jiggs running alongside.

Mike Dalmatian Engine 8

Mike was the fire dog of Engine Company 8 from 1908 to 1914. Twice, he won the blue ribbon in the Dalmatian class at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden.

Mike was no ordinary fire dog. In fact, he was no ordinary Dalmatian. As the son of Oakie and Bess, two of the most famous mascot dogs in the history of the Fire Department of New York, he was destined for greatness.

Oakie was raised in Newport, Rhode Island on Oakland Farm, the residence of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt. In March 1907, Vanderbilt shipped the dog by crate to Engine Company 39 at Fire Headquarters after he heard that their fire dog, Pinkie, was killed trying to slide down the pole at the firehouse. Oakie was placed in charge of Foreman Edward J. Levy.

Vanderbilt Oakland Farm

Mike’s father, Oakie, was raised on Oakland Farm, the country residence of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt in Newport, Rhode Island.

Bess also came from a litter of aristocratic dogs, but her master is not known. As the story goes, he very much admired the work of the firemen who responded to a fire at his house, so he decided to give them a Dalmatian.

One day he drove up to the firehouse of Engine Company No. 8 in his touring car and gave them a puppy. He didn’t say who he was, but told them that the dog’s name was Bess and that he wanted her to be a real dog working with firemen.

Alfred G. Vanderbilt Sr.

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, Sr. was the third son of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and Alice Claypoole Gwynne. He was among the 1,198 passengers who died on the RMS Lusitania when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat on May 7, 1915, off the coast of Ireland. He was called a hero for helping others into lifeboats – he even offered his own life jacket to a woman with an infant even though he couldn’t swim. Vanderbilt’s body was never recovered.

Boisterous, beefy Michael Creegman, aka, Mickey the Breeze, clicked with little pup right off the bat, and took her uptown every night for dinner. Perhaps he had connections, or perhaps it was his dominating presence, but somehow Mickey got her a special pass to ride the Third Avenue Railroad trolley cars with him.

In March 1908, Bess gave birth to several noble pups. From the litter, a puppy the firemen named Mike was selected and turned over to driver David M. Lynx of Engine Company 8.

Third Avenue Railroad Pass

Shortly after Mike starting training for the position of fire dog with Engine Company 8, Bess was transferred to a quieter station house in Queens to recover from injuries sustained from running into burning buildings.

Since she would no longer need her surface rail pass, Fireman David Lynx escorted Mike to the office of Receiver Frederick Wallington Whitridge to see if it could be transferred to Bess’ son.

Engine Company No. 8 FDNY

Metropolitan Steam Engine Company No. 8 was organized on September 11, 1865. The company spent the first four years at 128 E. 50th Street, and then moved to its current location at 165 East 51st Street in 1869. Today the company shares headquarters with Ladder Company 2 and Battalion 8.

Now, Mike was not one for acknowledging anyone not wearing a fireman’s uniform. But according to David Lynx, he jumped right up on Whitridge’s lap “just like a politician asking for a favor.” Whitridge gave the fireman permission to transfer the pass to Mike, saying, “It’s the only pass of the kind ever issued by the road, and if Mike is willing to take all the risks and not sue the company in case of accident I guess we’ll transfer the pass to him.”

Frederick W. Whitridge

Frederick Whitridge of 16 East 11th Street was appointed Receiver of the Third Avenue Railroad on January 6, 1908, following its foreclosure under the collapse of the Metropolitan Street Railway, which then controlled the rail company. In 1910, the Third Avenue Railway was chartered, acquiring all the properties of the former Third Avenue Railroad. Whitridge was named president of the new company around 1915.

The special pass was engraved on a silver plate attached to his collar, which also held a tiny brass fire helmet. The inscription read: “To conductors: permission is hereby granted to carry a fire dog on the cars of this company. Third Avenue Railway Company. Frederick W. Whitridge, Receiver.”

All the conductors were instructed to honor this pass, which let him ride back and forth on the front platform of all the Third Avenue lines. Mike used the pass often to go home with the firemen for dinner and to visit his fire dog pals in uptown fire houses.

Horse-drawn carriage

The Third Avenue Railroad Company formed in 1852 and began operating its horse-drawn cars on July 3, 1853. By 1859, using the 125th Street Railroad and tracks along 10th Avenue (Amsterdam Avenue), the line ran from the Astor House (Broadway and Park Row) north along Park Row, the Bowery, and Third Avenue to 130th Street near the Harlem River, a distance of about 8 miles.

Mike and Jerry’s Excellent Adventures

One of Mike’s best canine friends was Jerry, an ordinary mongrel attached to what was then the 29th Precinct at 163 E. 51st Street. Jerry was brought to the police station on March 4, 1909, by a woman who had found him outside starving and shivering. Captain John J. Lantry accepted the dog and the men named him Jerry in honor of the station’s doorman (they were originally going to call him Bill Taft in honor of President William Taft’s inauguration that year but the vote went to Jerry).

One of the dogs’ favorite activity was taking the ferry-boat from East 53rd Street to Blackwell’s Island. If it was a warm day, they’d go swimming to cool off. Sometimes they would stay there for two or three days, but they always returned to their respective stations.

First Third Avenue Cable Car

By the mid-1880s, the Third Avenue Railroad Company began operating cable cars on the Tenth Avenue cable line and 125th Street line. The surface railway used cable cars as well as horse-drawn streetcars until 1899 when the company switched over to electric-powered trolleys.

When it came to the job, though, Mike and Jerry were all business. Jerry would accompany the policeman on patrol or ride along with the patrol wagon that picked up the prisoners for night court, and Mike would ride along with the fire engines. The two never switched jobs or mixed pleasure with business.

Mike did his job very well, and the firemen say he saved many lives. He’d jump up and down in excitement as the horses, Jerry, Pat, and Miguel got into their harnesses, and would run ahead to bark and snap at pedestrians in cross streets to let them know the horses were coming. On the scene of the fire, Mike would always run into the buildings with the firemen, just like he mother once did. His reward on hot nights was getting hosed down with the horses when their work was done.

Old 17th Precinct Stationhouse

Mike’s friend Jerry was attached to the 29th Precinct – originally the 19th – which was established at 163 East 51st Street on September 7, 1877. Today it’s known as the 17th Precinct.

Mike and Tom and Jerry

Mike’s two other good four-legged friends at the firehouse were a big grey horse named Jerry who also arrived in 1908 and a large black cat named Tom. The three animals loved being together, and always slept in Jerry’s stall – Mike would put his head on Jerry’s neck and Tom would sleep on Jerry’s back. Jerry fussed over his small friends in the stall, and would always lie down carefully so as not to crush them.

When an alarm came in at night, Tom would jump out of the way and walk to the street to watch the engines pull away. Then he’d go back inside to sleep until his friends came home (who said cats were not as smart as dogs?) Actually, one time Tom tried to ride on Jerry’s back as he raced to a fire. He held on for a few seconds and then jumped, landing on his end and injuring himself (so maybe he wasn’t that smart).

Tom, Jerry, Mike, Engine Company No. 8

The four-legged buddies of Engine Company 8.

Although Mike usually went inside the buildings with the men, he must have sensed that his friend Jerry was about to lose his job when he noticed the horse was falling asleep on the scene. According to Captain Joseph Donovan, no sooner would Dave Lynx place a blanket over his team, Jerry would drop down in the gutter and take a nap.

Dave and the engine men Dennis McNamara and Frank Leonard didn’t know what to do – but Mike had an idea.

For the next few nights, Mike remained outside with the horses and began nipping Jerry on the knees as soon as he started to kneel down. Sometimes he’d nip him 10 times in a half hour, but eventually the trick worked and Jerry stopped falling asleep on the job.

Mike Goes to Doggie Heaven

On December 5, 1914, Jerry stumbled and fell while racing to a fire. The large horse landed on top of Mike, crushing his hind legs. The firemen carried Mike back to the station and placed him in Jerry’s stall to quiet the horse – she seemed to know that the end was near for her dear canine friend.

Mike wins Westminster Kennel Club Show

Although Mike had a short life, it was a very rewarding one. Not only did he help save lives, he also took first place in the Dalmatian class at the 34th annual Westminster Kennel Club show at Madison Square Garden in 1910 and 1911. The class was specifically dedicated to firemen’s dogs. In 1910, second place went to two-year-old Smoke II of Engine Company 68 on Jay Street in Brooklyn.

This story is dedicated to the families and friends of the following firefighters from Engine 8, Ladder 2, and Battalion 8 who made the supreme sacrifice on September 11th, 2001.

ENGINE 8
FF. Robert Parro
LADDER 2
CPT. Federick Ill, Jr.
FF. Denis Germain
FF. Daniel Harlin
FF. Dennis Mulligan
FF. Michael Clarke
FF. George Dipasquale
FF. Carl Molinaro
BATTALION 8
BC. Thomas DeAngelis
FF. Thomas McCann