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.


Rags: World War I Dog Hero

Rags, who became a World War I dog hero, was originally just a

Dog Hero
Rags with Sgt. Hickman who helped rescue him, 1925, courtesy of the author

stray pup picked up by a couple of American soldiers in July of 1918. James Donovan and George Hickman, part of the 1st Infantry Division, had been celebrating Bastille Day in a bar in the famous Montmartre section of Paris, when they stumbled on what they thought was a bundle of rags.

The accidental bump of one of their boots aroused the bundle and it barked, revealing that the men had come upon a dog, not rags.

Continue reading…


"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


Newfoundland and Grant
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) and his wife Julia moved into the White House with four children for what was to become a two-term stay (1869-1877). The eldest son was off at college by 1869 when Grant’s first term… Continue reading »

Rescue dogs
What do you do if you run a dog rescue operation near Los Angeles and want to move to Maine—with the dogs? Maybe you do what David Rosenfelt and his wife, Debbie Myers, did. After spending months puzzling through the challenge of transferring their… Continue reading »

Lassie
Lassie became a movie star despite starting life as a spirited, unwanted pup. In 1940 Rudd Weatherwax and his brother, Frank, had just started their own Studio Dog Training School, opting to run their own business rather than continue to work for others.  A man who was having difficulty… Continue reading »

gold rush dog
Nero was a big St. Bernard who became an important figure during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s. Nero is described as a goofy, lovable and big St. Bernard who attached himself to Belinda Mulrooney (1872-1967),… Continue reading »

stability dog
Geronimo is an elegant greyhound, weighing 80 pounds and standing hip-high to individuals of average height. He came to live with Linda and Mike Bates about five years ago when he was in need of a home.  They loved him on sight, but as they learned of… Continue reading »

teacup dog
Tea cup-sized dogs (or “sleeve” dogs, as they were called in the mid-nineteenth century) were a gift from Japan to then-President Franklin Pierce (1804-1869). The teacup dogs were brought to President Pierce by Commodore Matthew Perry (1794-1858) in 1854. Perry, accompanied by gun boats,… Continue reading »

This Day in History

On February 11, 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln left his home in Springfield, Illinois, on his way to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration. These were his words on departure: “Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being… I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail… To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

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