‘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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Garth Homer Society in Saanich turns lemons into lemonade with online programs

Victoria disability organization sets up online programs and learning tools in wake of COVID-19

Human behaviour likely to deter birds from Esquimalt Lagoon, survey suggests

More Great Blue Herons spotted, fewer mallard ducks seen

Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre to host a trio of acts

Aaron Pritchett, Alex Cuba and Valdy will each play four shows

PHOTOS: A morning in a physically-distanced Victoria

Residents commute in a pandemic-changed city

Faulty janitorial equipment likely caused Saanich school fire

Saturday morning fire damaged roof of Strawberry Vale Elementary

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read