November 08, 2022
From the Titanic to Queen Mary 2: Transatlantic Dogs | Dog Edition #71

Dogs have been making transatlantic journeys on ocean liners for 182 years. What’s THAT like? We hear about the twelve dogs who boarded the Titanic in 1912 … and what’s it like to make a similar voyage in 2022.

Ocean liners, the majestic hotels of the sea, have never been built just for humans. Since their invention in 1840, they have accommodated many other species.

In the early days, the animals who voyaged were fresh food for human passengers, so they didn’t quite complete the crossing. But that changed around the turn of the century, when passengers started asking to bring their pets on the trip. Shipping operators figured out how to let companion animals make themselves at home at sea.

The most memorable ocean liner, the Titanic, was perhaps the most infamous of the ships to accommodate pets. She left Southampton for her maiden voyage with over 2000 passengers and crew … and twelve dogs on board. The dogs lived in luxury for a few days … until the ship hit the iceberg. What happened to the dogs? Ian Murphy at Liverpool’s Maritime Museum and Janette McCutcheon, author of several books about ocean liners, tell us about each … including an incredible tale of owner loyalty.

Make sure you have your handkerchief in hand!

By the 1930’s, ships were attracting movie stars, businesspeople, and other wealthy and glamorous passengers. And yes, they wanted their animals with them on the crossing. Who were the crew members tasked with looking after the dogs?

Today only one ocean liner is left in service: the Queen Mary 2. Perhaps it’s the law of supply and demand that explains why the wait list for kenneled passengers is two years … but is it waning supply, or increasing demand? Humans choose to cross on Queen Mary 2 for a variety of reasons, from cost savings to phobia avoidance to health concerns. We speak to passengers who’ve made the trip and report how their dogs liked being on ship in a confined space with a strict diet. Was it a floating spa, or something … else?

Episode Links

Travelling on the Queen Mary 2 with pets

Michelle Binkley’s YouTube channel

Janette McCutcheon’s books

Maritime Museum in Liverpool

About Dog Podcast Network (DPN) 

Check out Dog Podcast Network for other dog-adjacent shows:

The Long Leash where we rescue tasty scraps from the editing room floor in an unscripted interview show

Dog Cancer Answers which offers vetted advice from real veterinarians who answer your questions about dog cancer

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