Real-life stories of animals and their amazing bond with humans

Airedale that sensed its owner’s impending death


During the First World War a British naval officer lived at Harwich on the east coast of England with his wife and pet Airedale dog. At the time the young lieutenant, whose name we do not know, was serving on a minesweeper. Its role was to keep the shipping lanes free from German mines.

Each time he was due to set sail, the officer’s wife and their Airedale normally went to the quayside to see him off. But one day the Airedale was in a strange mood. All that morning the dog had been agitated and when they arrived at the quayside, the pet’s behaviour became even odder. The Airedale refused to be patted goodbye by the officer and instead grabbed hold of the officer’s trouser leg with his teeth.

For several minutes the dog tried all he could to drag his owner away from the ship. The officer, a calm unruffled man, simply shrugged off the dog’s antics. After kissing his wife goodbye, the lieutenant walked on board and got ready for the task ahead.

That same night the Airedale suddenly began a terrible wailing, which lasted for some time. Later, the officer’s wife learned that the minesweeper had been lost at sea that night, and all lives on board had been lost. The ship had gone down at the time the officer’s Airedale had begun to howl back home.

minesweeper HMS Belvoir
A First World War minesweeper.
Photo: Wiki/ Imperial War Museum

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