Guard Dog

egg rock nahant massachusetts
Postcard: CrazyasaCoolFox



The old postcard above shows a lighthouse on a small island off the coast of Lynn, Massachusetts called Egg Rock. If you have ever been there you would agree it is appropriately named as it is only a rock. Today the lighthouse is gone replaced by bouys and other beacons in the area. It is now only a desolate refuge for shore birds.

The first keeper was George B. Taylor of Nahant, who lived at the lighthouse with his wife and five children, along with chickens, goats, a tame crow, and a dog named Milo.

Milo, was a huge Newfoundland-St. Bernard mix. One day, Keeper Taylor was shooting waterfowl on the island, with Milo accompanying him. The keeper shot a duck, which fell to the ocean. The bird was wounded, but not mortally. Milo swam in pursuit, but it took off and flew a short distance. Every time Milo would close in, the bird would take off again.

Taylor watched the chase from shore until Milo and the loon disappeared from sight. Milo wasn't seen again that day. The next day, Milo was seen swimming from Nahant, where he apparently spent the night. He swam safely back to his home at the Rock.

Local fishermen enjoyed playing a game with Milo. They would lash two or three good-sized cod to pieces of wood and set them adrift. The dog would retrieve the floating prizes, sometimes as far as a mile from the island, and bring them to the Taylors for dinner.


Milo the Lighthouse Dog / Jeremy D'Entremont

In foggy weather Milo also served as a kind of fog signal, barking at vessels as they approached Egg Rock. Taylor claimed his dog was as useful as the light. Milo was credited with the rescue of several children from drowning around the island. His fame spread across the Atlantic. An English artist known for portraying animals, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, painted Milo’s portrait, depicting a small child nestled between the dog's enormous paws. The model for the child was Keeper Taylor's young son, Fred. The painting, titled Saved, became internationally famous.

Apparently Milo never left Egg Rock. It is said that on foggy summer nights one can hear barking coming from the direction of the island. He is still warning vessels away from Egg Rock.

Comments

Alan Burnett said…
What a splendid story. Local history, historic images and excellent tale telling woven together perfectly.
Beautiful postcards, and Milo was a good, good dog!

Kathy M.
Nancy said…
Oh, I love stories about heroic dogs! Milo sounds like he was fabulous!
Peter said…
Great tale! The painting should be in the Louvre Museum in Paris, next to the statue of the Venus de M. ;)
Lighthouses alone are magical, but to have some a magical dog as a memory makes it even better.
Mike Brubaker said…
Dog stories will always win our hearts. What era was Milo? 1880s? 1900s?

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