No, we won’t have real dogs running to the lighthouse…instead
YOU are going to help them get there!
This year’s annual non-event fundraiser is a virtual race of
some very famous lighthouse dogs across the dunes of Cape Cod to Race Point
Why are we hosting this virtual race?
To raise funds and awareness for the American Lighthouse
Foundation's lighthouse preservation mission… because like you, we
believe lighthouses are places matter!
Lighthouses are amazing historical structures located in
some of the most picturesque settings imaginable. Now, imagine visiting
one of these special places with your family or friends and instead of a
welcome from volunteers with an opportunity to climb a sparkling
important role in building America…you find the door
closed, peeling paint, and cracked windows. Over the past 18 years
YOU have helped ALF take part in saving many historic lighthouses across the
country from fading into history and today 8 ALF lighthouses are open to the
Just like the lighthouse guides mariners, each donation to
the Great Lighthouse Dog Virtual Race will help guide the American
Lighthouse Foundation through another successful year in 2012!
Simply choose a lighthouse dog to cheer
on with your non-event donation to ALF’s lighthouse preservation
mission, which will help your furry friend reach the lighthouse first!
You can also learn more about each lighthouse dog’s special place in
lighthouse history and watch the progress of their virtual race online
All donations over $50.00 will receive this
brand-new, custom designed ornament of Race Point Lighthouse as a
free thank you gift. Each ornament comes boxed and is plated with
24k gold with accent colors. (Retail Value $25.00)
For your donation of
$50 or more we will send you this ornament as a thank you gift.
In honor of:
My Donation is over $50.00:
5/4/12 - We are $3,6000
away from the $12,000 fundraising goal for this year's non-event! Help our
furry friends reach Race Point Light by DONATING TODAY!
more about our lighthouse dogs...
There are many stories of pets playing a special part of
lighthouse history. Some event made news stories such as the fishing cat at
Pomham Rocks Lighthouse and a talking parrot at Portland Head Lighthouse.
The ones that feature a lighthouse dog have always been our favorites and
they show how much these special furry friends care about us too!
Wood Island Light, Biddeford Pool, Maine
Orcutt’s dog, Sailor, a mostly-black mongrel (described as a Scotch
Collie in one article), was taken to Wood Island as a two-month-old
puppy and went on to achieve wide fame. In 1894, the Lewiston (ME)
It is customary for passing steamers to salute the
light and the keeper returns it by ringing the bell. The other day a tug
whistled three times.
ALF Archive Photo
Sailor rings the fog bell at
Wood Island Lighthouse
The Captain did not hear it, but the dog did. He ran to
the door and tried to attract the Captain’s attention by howling. Failing to
do this he ran away and then came a second time with no better result. Then
he decided to attend to the matter himself, so he seized the rope, which
hangs outside, between his teeth and began to ring the bell.
Sailor developed the habit of vigorously ringing the bell for every passing
vessel. Over the next few years, many passengers aboard local excursion
steamers were startled to see the dog’s amazing performances. Sailor was
said to possess almost human intelligence. He also served as a messenger,
delighting in carrying letters and other small articles in his mouth. It was
claimed that he understood all that was said to him. In 1900, Orcutt
remarked: “Sailor and I are old comrades. Wood Island would indeed be a
lonely place if I hadn’t the dog to keep me company. He is a bright,
intelligent companion and is perfectly content to live the life of a
lighthouse keeper away from all dog friends.”
Heron Neck Light
Nemo, one of
the coast’s most famous “fog dogs,” lived at Heron Neck Light near
Vinalhaven with Keeper Levi Farnham in the early 1900s. Nemo was
described as a big, handsome Newfoundland dog and he was named, of
course, for Captain Nemo of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea fame.
article described Nemo’s amazing devotion to duty:
As soon as the fog began to come in
he seemed to realize that he was to be on duty, and went like a
well-drilled soldier to his position at the extreme end of the Neck.
ALF Archive Photo
Nemo, a devoted friend, lived at
Heron Neck Lighthouse
There he waited patiently until
somewhere out of the murk came the sound of a whistle or a horn, to which he
immediately responded by barking loudly. Sound carries well in a fog, and
the intelligent creature's voice was easily heard a long distance, and was a
sufficient warning over a large area of danger.
One captain declared that he could hear
Nemo farther than the fog-horn on the other side of the sound.
The dog never tired of his task, but
remained at his station through all weather until the fog lifted, and the
passing sailors could see their way again. Probably more than one vessel was
saved from wreck and disaster by the timely warning of this four-footed
sentinel of the sea.
Naturally, Nemo was a prime favorite
with those who had occasion to traverse these waters. As the local fishermen
passed by in fair weather they blew their horns or whistles, and he came
bounding down to the water's edge to return their salute, and to receive the
biscuit and bits of meat that they threw ashore to him. That captain must
have been in a great hurry, or much buffeted by head tides or contrary
winds, who would not lay his course a little nearer the land for the sake of
showing appreciation of the worth and services of this shaggy friend in
Owls Head Light
Augustus B. (“Gus”) Hamor became keeper at Owls Head in
1930 after 17 years at Maine’s Egg Rock Light. Hamor’s springer spaniel,
Spot, gained wide fame among local mariners. Spot learned to pull the
rope that rang the fog bell with his teeth, a ritual he repeated for
every approaching vessel. The boats would answer with a whistle or bell,
and Spot would bark excitedly.
Spot’s unusual abilities turned out to be good for more
Spot's barking saved the Matinicus
Mailboat as it passed Owls Head Lighthouse
One stormy night, the Matinicus mail boat almost ran aground
at Owls Head. It was Spot’s loud barking that warned the captain just in
time and enabled him to steer clear of the rocks.
A plaque memorializing Spot has been installed near the
lighthouse, and he was the inspiration for the popular children’s book
Lighthouse Dog to the Rescue, by Angeli Perrow.
Marshall Point Light
Nellie was a quick-witted little wire-haired fox terrier
(accurately described as a “cute pixie of a terrier” by one writer) who
became the star of two popular children’s books by Jane Scarpino and
illustrator Robert Ensor. In Nellie, The Lighthouse Dog, Nellie saves
the day by rescuing a lost child from the rocks near the lighthouse.
Along the way, Nellie takes us on a tour of the area around Marshall
Point Lighthouse and other parts of the picturesque old fishing village
of Port Clyde
Nellie became a heroine in a special
story that took place at Marshall Point Lighthouse.
In the second book, Nellie the Flying Instructor, Nellie
taught a young seagull how to fly.
* Special Thank You to Jeremy D'Entremont for compiling the
historical information for our lighthouse dogs!