‘Mighty’ Muggins, whose owner came from Saanich, raised the equivalent of about $250,000, during and afte the First World War for the Canadian Red Cross and veterans’ associations. (Photo courtesy of Saanich Archives 2015-028-005)

Saanich dog raised equivalent of about $250,000 during and after First World War

‘Mighty’ Muggins met a future British king and others in becoming an international celebrity

Mighty Muggins was a Spitz, who never set his paws on the battlefields of the First World War.

But he nonetheless helped those Canadians, who fought for king and country, in becoming an international media star. More than a century after the end of the war, his story continues to fascinate.

RELATED: Saanich remembers dog who led local war effort

Owned by Saanich resident Beatrice Woodward, Mighty Muggins helped to raise funds for the Red Cross and veterans’ associations during and after the First World War.

Saanich archivist Evelyn Wolfe said Woodward, a Gorge Road West resident, either placed him on a display stand in downtown Victoria or simply let him run loose.

“He would wander around downtown Victoria with these little tin boxes strapped to his side, and people would put money in there,” she said.

Overall, the dog raised about $21,000 for the Red Cross as well as well as returning veterans. “Which is the equivalent, I have heard, of about $250,000 today, which is a lot of money.”

For his efforts, he received eight medals from local, national, and foreign organizations, with seven of those medals in the care of Saanich Archives.

RELATED: Saanich Archives pieces together memories of First World War

RELATED: New signs will memorialize Saanich’s Shelbourne Street

“He was internationally known,” said Wolfe.

People would send postcards bearing his image, he met military brass, and the future British King Edward the Eighth when he visited Victoria as Prince of Wales in 1919. Along the way, he developed a loyal local following that protected him from the pound.

One day, he was running around lose around the lawn of the Empress Hotel near his display stand, said Wolfe. The local dog catcher spotted Mighty Muggins, and tried to pick him up to take him to the pound.

“A crowd gathered to prevent that from happening because they weren’t going to let the dog catcher lock up Muggins,” she said.

Little known is about Woodward. “We can only speculate that she was involved in Red Cross efforts, as a lot of women were,” said Wolfe. “It was part of the home front, raising funds and providing boxes [with various items] for soldiers overseas.”

RELATED: UVic military historian sees parallels between eve of First World War and today

While Muggins was seven years old when he died in 1920, his efforts have him immortalized him in more than one way.

“He was mourned when he died, and they actually stuffed his body and put him on display,” said Wolfe. In fact, he continued to raise money, as a stuffed dog, right up until the Second World War.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Rickter Scale: The view through a smoky mirror

Remembering life in the glory days of smoking

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at car dealership in Campbell River turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Horgan heckled as gas prices sit at record high, could go up more

Premier John Horgan blames refiners, not taxes

Home care transition could exacerbate worker shortage: Seniors advocate

Advocate fears impact of eight-hour shift model on an industry under stress

Tofino beckons Trudeau back for Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from B.C. pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

Police charge 27-year-old male in Langford shooting

Justin Lemmen was arrested shortly after the shooting after crashing into a truck

Good Samaritans rescue Sidney senior trapped under mobility scooter

78-year-old broke her pelvis and spent a week in hospital after the accident

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Woman who was chased and tackled after break-in sentenced on Vancouver Island

Natasha Geraldine Harris, 28, was sentenced to time served and will be released from jail

Most Read