Amish Dog Immigrates to America

I picked up an interesting Amish book the other day. It’s called Amish Roots, edited by John A. Hostetler. Mr. Hostetler has put together an impressive collection of writings on a variety of subjects, from Amish history to Amish legends to views on child discipline. Every article, letter, and essay is written by an Amish person, or in rare cases by an Englisch person who is speaking out for the Amish on a certain topic. I love reading the personal observations.

For instance, there’s an article in here about a dog immigrating to America along with the Beck family in 1834. Apparently the children had a hard time leaving the family pet behind in Switzerland, so Papa Beck allowed them to bring it across France with them, with the understanding that when they boarded the ship to America, the dog would not come. (Dogs were not permitted on the immigrant ships.) So the morning they were to board the ship, Papa Beck instructed his oldest son to take the dog out and drown it. (I know. Harsh. But before this current enlightened age, dogs were treated like…well, like animals.)

Little John, however, did not obey, but snuck the dog onboard. The family kept the animal hidden for a while, but then the dog gave birth to a litter of six puppies. It’s kind of hard to keep six puppies quiet and under wraps on a ship. They were discovered when none other than the ship’s captain witnessed a puppy escaping from its confines and prancing across the deck. John thought for sure he would be ordered to throw all the dogs overboard. Thank goodness the captain turned out to be a dog lover. He picked out a puppy for himself, and paid John a silver dollar plus a daguerreotype of himself. Papa Beck promptly confiscated the money and the photograph, because it was wrong for Amish to have pictures. Not sure what happened to the rest of the puppies, but Mama Dog arrived safely in Fulton County, Ohio with her family.

Don’t you just love fun glimpses into history?

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