Category Archives: Bull Terrier

Patsy Ann, the “Official Greeter” of Juneau, Alaska

By Linda Cole

The mystery of how and why dogs do certain things has never been solved, and maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s a conundrum that constantly reminds us of the amazing abilities of dogs. Such is the case with Patsy Ann, a white Bull Terrier who left her home and family behind to become the “Official Greeter” of Juneau, Alaska, welcoming ships as they docked. What impressed the townspeople was that even though Patsy Ann was born deaf, she was able to “hear” the whistles of ships preparing to dock before they were even in sight. She was the most famous dog west of the Mississippi during the 1930s.

Patsy Ann was born on October 12, 1929 in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Keyser, a Juneau dentist, purchased the pup for his twin daughters, and Patsy Ann traveled by ship to her new home in Alaska. Once there, however, things didn’t go well in her new home and she was given to another family in Juneau. But Patsy Ann had a mind of her own and wasn’t the “settling down with one family” type of dog. She regularly escaped to make her rounds around town and visit human friends. A friendly soul adored by everyone, Patsy Ann had become Juneau’s dog.

How Patsy Ann knew a ship was coming has remained a mystery. Maybe she felt vibrations from the whistle in the air or smelled the smoke coming from the smokestacks on the steamships. As soon as the first whistles were heard, no matter where Patsy Ann was in town, she eagerly trotted to the pier before the ship was even in sight. She even knew which of the seven docks the ship was making its way to!

A story the locals loved to tell was the time the newspaper misprinted the dock for an incoming ship, which sent everyone to the wrong dock to wait. As Patsy Ann made her way to the wharf, she saw the crowd gathering at the published dock. She stared at them for a moment before moving on to the correct dock and sat down to wait. Every now and then, she’d glance at the people and then turn her head back towards the channel. When the crowd realized the ship was heading for the dock Patsy Ann was at, they began to wander over to join her.

For twelve years, Patsy Ann endured bitter winds cutting across Gastineau Channel as she waited for ships to come into view. She waited through pounding rainstorms, wicked sleet, the harshness of winter, and docks groaning and rolling in heavy waves. Through it all, Patsy Ann stared into the gloom – waiting and watching. When a ship broke through the mist, Patsy Ann wiggled with excitement. The positive attention she received from the passengers and ship’s crew was her reward.

Patsy Ann was given the title of Official Greeter of Juneau by Mayor Goldstein in 1934, and when the town issued new dog license laws, he granted her immunity, which was good since she didn’t like wearing collars and somehow lost each one put on her.

When she wasn’t waiting for ships at the dock, Patsy Ann spent time with her friends in town. The local newspaper reported regularly on her activities, like leaving her footprints in freshly laid cement. She was well cared for by local businesses and probably had more friends than anyone in town. Everyone looked out for the dog and made sure she had shelter and plenty to eat. Her favorite place to sleep was in the Longshoremen’s hall.

News of Juneau’s famous Bull Terrier spread around the world by word of mouth, photographs and postcards with her image on them. Everyone wanted a picture of her. For people visiting Juneau, Patsy Ann was the highlight of their trip.

As she grew older, years of diving into the cold channel waters to meet many of the ships, weather and obesity had taken its toll on the old gal. On the night of March 30, 1942, she settled down for the last time in the Longshoremen’s hall. Patsy Ann died peacefully in her sleep at the age of twelve. A crowd of mourners gathered at the pier the next day and watched as a small coffin was lowered into the icy waters of the channel – Patsy Ann was gone.

On July 3, 1992, to honor this remarkable canine, a life-size bronze sculpture was unveiled at Patsy Ann Square which sits on the waterfront. In a heartwarming tribute, when the sculpture was sent to Alaska, part of the journey was by ship. Encased in the bronze are clippings of dog hairs from around the world to symbolically unite the spirit of all dogs. The statue sits on the main dock so Patsy Ann can continue her duty as Juneau’s Official Greeter, her head turned, watching the channel for ships making their way to dock. Visitors are encouraged to “Greet her and touch her and in leaving, carry with you the blessings of friendship through your life’s journey.”

Top photo by gillfoto
Middle photo by by woofiegrrl
Bottom photo by Eric V. Blanchard

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Dog Breed Profile: Bull Terrier

By Ruthie Bently

My heart is stuck on the American Staffordshire Terrier, but if I ever had to pick another breed the Bull Terrier would be right up there. I have a friend who has both a Bull Terrier and a Miniature Bull Terrier, though the Bull Terrier is more of the size I prefer. As their name implies, they are a member of the Terrier group and like most terriers they need a strong alpha owner.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes two colors in the Bull Terrier: white and colored. Colored means any color other than white; brindle is preferred and a predomination of white is a disqualification. Either color is disqualified if they have blue eyes. There is no specific size requirement for the Bull Terrier, though adults usually range between 21 to 22 inches at the withers and weigh between 50 and 70 pounds. The AKC describes the Bull Terrier as a dog that “must be strongly built, muscular, symmetrical and active, with a keen, determined and intelligent expression, full of fire but of sweet disposition and amenable to discipline.” The Bull Terrier has a life expectancy between ten and twelve years.

The English sportsmen of the early 1800s prized the bulldog /terrier crosses known as Bull-and-Terriers, and they were very popular. They appreciated the agility, intensity and the courage that the Bull-and-Terriers exhibited, though there were discrepancies in the dogs produced as some kept the characteristics and size of either the terrier or the bulldog. There was not yet a standardization of one dog breed.

An English dog dealer, James Hinks, is credited with the development of the first Bull Terriers. As formal dog shows were introduced and the demand for show and pet dogs grew, Mr. Hinks developed the Bull Terrier we know today. He crossed his white Bulldog ‘Madman’ and the extinct White English Terrier with the Bull-and-Terriers of the day. These dogs were known as White Cavaliers due to their snow white coats. The dogs Hinks bred were more uniform for their size and body type. Their popularity spread across the Atlantic, and the Bull Terrier Club of America was established in 1897. The colored Bull Terrier came into being after several breeders crossed colored Staffordshire Bull Terriers with their White Cavaliers. The white Bull Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1885 and the colored Bull Terrier was recognized as an individual variety of Bull Terrier in 1936.

The Bull Terrier is a muscular, sturdily built dog. It is a plucky, fearless, active and loyal little dog that loves its owner and family to distraction. They love children but need to be taught to be careful around small children, as they can become overexcited and may knock them over in their exuberance. Bull Terriers are playful and fun loving; some can be mischievous and most have a sweet disposition.

If left home alone too long they will pine for their owner and can be destructive if not given an outlet for their energy. The Bull Terrier needs daily exercise, and either a long walk or playing ball in the yard will work well. They take well to both agility and obedience. They need to be active and this will keep them mentally as well as physically occupied. Bull Terriers are not known as barkers, so if they begin barking it is a good idea to pay attention because they are trying to tell you something.

As with most terriers this is not a dog for everyone, and I strongly suggest obedience training for a well-behaved dog. I would compare Bull Terriers to a perpetual child in the “terrible twos” stage of life. Not that they are terrible by any means, but you have to keep one step ahead of them.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.