Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of America's past. These stories are about Americans - people just like you - who have made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around the site and find what inspires you. Kate Kelly
Dogs Make News

Dogs Make News

Dogs made the news regularly in times past. Two stories that took place within a couple of years of each other caught my attention:

“Dog Falls 800 Feet, Lives” ran the headline in The New York Times

Dogs Make News
portrait of a purebred fox terrier sitting on a table

on January 27, 1943. The story featured a terrier who dug himself out of a very deep snow drift, while the owner could only watch from afar.

Dog Featured in News

With a dateline of Medford, Oregon, January 26, the article began:

“’Two Bits’ chased an imaginary squirrel too close to the edge of a cliff, barked for help as he skidded and then fell over the ledge, a drop of 800 feet straight down.”

Two Bits was a fox terrier belonging to Bill Ziegler, who was at work in a lookout station at the Rogue River National Forest in Medford. Ziegler saw the event occur from a good distance away.  When he hiked out to the point on the cliff where he had seen Two Bits go over, he took one look at the drop and gave the dog up as lost. How could anything survive an 800-foot fall?

Two weeks later, Ziegler was on a nearby trail trimming back some branches when he was amazed to see “Two Bits” on his way up the trail. His head was down, his tongue was out and he looked tired, but his tail was wagging.

Ziegler finally realized the dog’s fall had been cushioned by a deep snowdrift.  After digging himself out, he then had to make his way through more drifts to climb up the 2.5 mile trail.

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The dog above rescued himself, but Time Magazine wrote a story (July 24, 1944) about a coon dog who needed some help with his rescue.

Dog Needed Rescue

Dogs Make News
What Drive, a coon hound, might have looked like. Getty Images

The incident took place in southeast Missouri.  The dog became trapped in a cave in Sugar Camp Hollow in the Ozark Mountains.  His owner, Jake Light, was beside himself, describing his dog, Drive, as “the best durned coon dog in southeast Missouri.”

Light and 24 other local farmers worked for ten days to blast through a 30-foot limestone wall in an effort to reach Drive. The men all forgot about their homes, the hay-mowing, and any concerns about the war….they wanted to get Jake’s dog back for him.

Finally Drive was rescued. It was a tearful reunion. Light wrapped the dog in an old shirt, climbed into his two-seater buggy that was waiting for him and went home happy.

Here are some additional dog stories about plain old regular dogs—but dogs that merited news stories: Three Sweet Dog Stories.




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