Sunday, December 14, 2008

Patsy Ann: A Deaf Dog Who Captured Many Hearts On The Last Frontier

If you've ever spent time in Juneau, Alaska you've probably heard of Patsy Ann. Although deaf from birth, this remarkable Bull Terrier was able to sense the impending arrival of ships at the wharf and would always arrive to greet sailors and passengers. Patsy Ann came to Juneau as a puppy in 1929 and assumed her post at the docks shortly afterward. Instead of belonging to one person, Patsy Ann preferred to live as the community's dog. She spent most nights at the Longshoremen's Hall and received countless meals and treats from her fans about town.

In 1934 the mayor established Patsy Ann as the "Official Greeter of Juneau" and praised her for her "unerring sense of ships" arrival and for her diligence in welcoming them. Juneau's beloved dog grew quite famous and postcards bearing her image made popular tourist souvenirs. In her later years Patsy Ann grew arthritic, but she never stopped greeting steamers at the wharf. In 1942 she passed away peacefully in her sleep at the Longshoremen's Hall.

Fifty years later a commemorative statue was erected in her honor on the Juneau dock. It was crafted in bronze by artist Anna Burke Harris, who included clippings of dog hair from around the world in the casting to symbolically unite the spirit of canines everywhere.

Despite being gone for many years, Patsy Ann still continues to capture the hearts of people from around the world. As I was reading accounts of her story, I discovered a student named Ryan who focused on Patsy Ann for his Hero Project. He wrote, "This dog is my hero because she had a disability that never kept her down and did what she loved for her whole life. To me that is amazing!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great story. As a "mom" to a deaf Australian Shepard, I am always happy to hear stories of how these wonderful dogs inspire others.