With thoughts of thanksgiving, the Pilgrims and the smell of Turkey in the air my thoughts wandered back to the Plimouth Plantation and the dogs there. The only thing worse than being a human coming over on the Mayflower must’ve been being a dog on that rough ride. But, ride it out they did!
Two dogs are recorded as having come over on the Mayflower. The man who brought them over was John Goodman who reportedly died during the first winter leaving his companions to his fellow Pilgrims who cared for them.
The first was a Mastiff who can go up to 200 pounds and the other a English Springer Spaniel. Both would be useful in the wilds of the new world for the Mastiff would be great at protection and big game hunting while the Spaniel would be a great hunting dog for smaller game.
There are three references about these two dogs and they are as follows;
Goodman and a companion became lost during inclement weather and had to brave the storm out ill-dressed for the event overnight with the two dogs with them. They could hear “Lions” roaring which were probably mountain lions or cougars who lived in the area at that time. They reportedly had to hold the dogs all night to keep them from breaking for the “lions”. They obviously found their way back after daybreak which must’ve came as a relief in many ways for these two guys.
The second is that Goodman was out with his Spaniel when a pack of Wolves appeared. The Spaniel ran to Goodman for protection and he being unarmed did what any guy might do, he picked up a stick and threw it at one of the Wolves and hit it. Not sure that is what I would’ve done… but it obviously worked. For the Wolves looked at them and Goodman threw another stick and the wolves sat down and observed them for what was described a very long time as the Spaniel stayed between Goodman’s legs. Smart dog! Finally, the Wolves wandered off which was lucky for Goodman, who perhaps brought about the saying three strikes your out for Bradford shows him as having died the first winter although other records show him to have died after that but before 1627.
The final note about these two dogs was that when the pilgrims planted crops they had to tie up the dogs to keep them from digging up the fish they put in with the seeds for fertilizer. Now tied up is different here for it is reported they tied their front legs up to keep them from digging.
So, there you have it. The Mayflower dogs who we remember this Thanksgiving. Wonder if they left any descendents?
We will take a moment to remember those who are no longer with us…… miss you ol’ Boo…..