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Patsy Ann

by Ryan from Anchorage

Statue of Patsyann, Juneau's famous dog.

Have you ever wondered about how dogs change people's moods and emotions? In 1929, a pup born in Portland, Oregon was shipped up to Juneau, Alaska. This dog was destined to be a family pet, but instead she would have none of that because she liked the life on the docks. This dog is deaf, famous, and will be a true hero forever in Juneau, Alaska.

Patsy Ann was the town's herald. Although deaf from birth, Patsy Ann somehow heard the whistles of approaching ships and immediately headed at a fast trot for the wharf, not to be sidetracked for any reason at all. The ship is coming! Mail! Tourists! Packages! The citizens of Juneau followed behind her when they saw her heading for the harbor. It seemed that everyone took care of Patsy Ann.

Patsyann's story inspired the novel DogStar by Beverley and Chris Wood.

In 1934, Mayor Goldstein proclaimed Patsy Ann to be the "Official Greeter of Juneau, Alaska" for her unerring sense of ships' arrival and her faithful welcome at wharfside. He also allowed her special diplomatic immunity from collars and licenses. Patsy Ann fulfilled her duties with diligence and devotion throughout her life. Patsy Ann was more photographed than the famous Rin Tin Tin. She was even on postcards all over the Western United States. Patsy Ann was everyone's dog and everyone loved her very much.

On March 30, 1942, Patsy Ann passed away in her sleep, fittingly, at the Longshoreman's Hall. The next day a crowd of mourners watched as her little coffin was lowered into the Gastineau Channel, just a short distance from where her statue stands now. In 1992, the Friends of Patsy Ann Society commissioned a bronze statue by New Mexican artist, Anna Burke Harris. It is a spiritual piece: clippings of dog hair from all over the world were added to the statue at the time of casting. Patsy Ann once again waits at the waterfront, her head turned, looking down the Gastineau Channel, forever the "Official Greeter of Juneau, Alaska."

Patsy Ann's story would make anyone emotional. Not only did the town of Juneau love and care for Patsy Ann, they worshipped her. If you ever visit the town of Juneau, stop by Patsy and say hello. 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!

Page created on 5/23/2004 5:48:35 PM

Last edited 1/4/2017 9:08:49 PM

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