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.

During the “Dog Days of Summer,” we examined America’ stories through its dogs. You’ll be amazed by stories about the dogs of 9-11, the first seeing eye dog in the U.S., and how the K-9 corps of World War II was made up of people’s pets.

Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle’s Dog, Luke

Fatty Arbuckle’s dog, Luke, was one of the most talented stars of Fatty Arbuckle and Lukesilent films.  In a day when camera tricks were technologically not possible, Luke is seen jumping from one wall on a building rooftop to another narrow wall across the way. He climbs from ground to roof via ladders, leaps into windows, and in one scene, Luke takes such tight hold of a villain’s pants with his teeth that the fellow is able to spin around quickly numerous times, never shaking Luke’s hold.

Luke is a delightful athlete and comedian in a time when film comedies were in their infancy.  Other genres of early films had their canine stars: Jean excelled in romances; Strongheart was fearless and always brought down the bad guy in adventure films, but when it came to comedy, there was no dog better than Luke, the English pitbull.

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"What can one person do?"
Read some of the stories on this site; you'll see that they revolve around single individuals who worked toward change.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

smart German Shepherd
A smart German shepherd was brought to public attention in the 1920s, recognized for the almost unlimited number of commands he could understand.  His owner, Jacob Herbert of Detroit, was a man with… Continue reading »

The fact that there were dogs traveling on the Titanic with their owners would come as no surprise to anyone who considers it. However, with all that has been written about the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, little has been written about the dogs who were passengers. Dedicated research… Continue reading »

Custer and dog
General George Custer loved his dogs, and he had many of them.  Throughout much of his military career, a good number of his dogs accompanied him everywhere.  He had so many dogs (40-80) that even if he set out with fifteen or twenty of them, there… Continue reading »

Old Yeller
Old Yeller, or the dog that played Old Yeller, was a homeless dog found in a shelter in Van Nuys, California.  The dog’s real name was Spike. Spike almost didn’t get the part in the movie about Old Yeller because everyone thought he was too much of a… Continue reading »

The Newfoundland that had the run of the White House from 1857-1861 was the beloved pet of our 15th president, James Buchanan (1791-1868). The 170-pound dog, Lara, may have been the one bright spot for Buchanan during what became highly fraught years. James Buchanan had served in Congress for… Continue reading »

This Day in History

On July 6, 1971 Louis Armstrong, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, died at the age of 69. A world-renowned jazz trumpeter and vocalist, he was born into poverty in New Orleans and learned the cornet when he was incarcerated in a Boys’ Home for firing a gun into the air on New Year’s eve. He went on to become one of the best jazz trumpet players in the world with a style all his own.

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