Muggins: Not Just Another Dog Story
Posted 08 November 2018 - 07:47 PM
The story of Muggins, the Red Cross fundraising dog
Posted October 09, 2014 by Red Cross Talks - Red Cross blogger
Guest post by Paul Jenkins, Coordinator of the Victoria History Project
During wartime, the Canadian Red Cross provided comfort, support and supplies to soldiers overseas, as well as to the many people left at home. Many seniors today still have stories about the Red Crosss positive impact on their family, especially during the two great wars of the 20th century.
One of the most beloved wartime stories involves a very special Red Cross volunteer, recruited to help at the Victoria, B.C. office. His name was Muggins. He stood about 12 inches high, and was, by all accounts, quite adorable.
Muggins was a white Spitz dog, owned by Mrs G.W. Woodward of Victoria, and gave his life to the cause of supporting the Canadian Red Cross during World War I. He operated from a mock bunker in a burned-out area in downtown Victoria, beside the present-day Bay Centre at Fort and Government streets. A Red Cross volunteer in uniform tended to him and he would set off each day -- by himself -- on a tour of the downtown area with two Red Cross donation boxes tied to his back.
He was a familiar sight in Victoria, bringing cheer during the dark years of the Great War. He knew when his boxes were full and would return to his bunker at the end of his work. Over the course of his career, Muggins collected an astounding $21,000 and was awarded seven decorations for his work, including medals from the United States and France. He eventually died of pneumonia.
Google Red Cross dog Muggins and you will find tales of his adventures and the friends he made along the way.
Muggins may just be stories from years gone by and faded images on old postcards. Or is he really gone?
In a final twist, an old newspaper article has surfaced, reporting that Mugginss body was handed over to a taxidermist to be mounted in a wartime memorial, possibly for display in the provincial Legislative Assembly. While we dont know for sure if this actually happened, we would like to find out how the story ended.
Posted 08 November 2018 - 07:55 PM
Muggins, Canadian Red Cross Fundraising Dog
DATE / PERIOD1914-1920PLACEVICTORIA, B.C.OBJECT
TYPEPHOTOGRAPHSCREDITSAANICH ARCHIVES TOPICSFUNDRAISING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Muggins was a lovable, and incredibly famous, Canadian Red Cross mascot from a bygone era.
Standing roughly 12 inches tall, Muggins was a loveable Spitz dog with fuzzy white hair, who would wander downtown Victoria, B.C. at the corner of Belleville and Government during the Great War with two change donation boxes tied to his back.
He quickly acquired fame locally and internationally, visiting ferries and freightliners stopping in Victoria and appearing in photos with the Prince of Wales in 1919 and with famous Canadian General Sir Arthur Curry.
Muggins helped raise an astounding total of $21,000 (equivalent to nearly $240,000 in 2016) for veterans associations and the Red Crosss war effort.
"In total, Muggins efforts during the Two Great Wars earned him eight unique medals from around the world."
Muggins reportedly died of pneumonia sometime in 1920 at age seven and his body was turned over to a taxidermist so that he could live on - albeit in a stuffed version - in the B.C. Legislative assembly.
He continued to raise money for the Red Cross during the Second World War, when his body was on display in the Red Cross Superfluities Store in Victoria where people could donate items and at a special War Veterans fundraising stand at the corner of Belleville and Government where he once stood.
The American and French Red Cross awarded his efforts with prestigious medals, as did the Esquimalt Military Hospital. In total, Muggins efforts during the Two Great Wars earned him eight unique medals from around the world.
Postcard of Muggins at his portable collection stand for the Red Cross, 1918. Photo: SAANICH ARCHIVES
Posted 08 November 2018 - 07:57 PM
One of the eight medals awarded to Muggins. Presented to "Muggins" for faithful services rendered during the Great War. Credit: SAANICH ARCHIVES
Posted 08 November 2018 - 07:58 PM
Postcard of Muggins the Red Cross dog with two soldiers and a Red Cross ambulance, 1919. Photo: SAANICH ARCHIVES
Posted 08 November 2018 - 07:59 PM
Postcard of Muggins the Red Cross dog with members of the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR), 1918. Photo: SAANICH ARCHIVES
Posted 08 November 2018 - 08:00 PM
Postcard of Muggins the Red Cross dog and the Prince of Wales, with young Doris Baker presenting a photograph of Muggins to the Prince, Premier John Oliver on left. Photo: SAANICH ARCHIVES
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