The ominous fog lingers late into the morning. The fog signal blasts its warning across the water. It is a typical morning on the coast of Maine, and the scene is set to honor a hero of yesterday, a hero who called out into the raging snowstorm to save the life of Captain Stuart Ames — a hero that had four legs!
Yes, that’s right. Spot, the Lighthouse Dog, was the beloved pet of Keeper Gus Hamor and his daughters Pauline and Millie. Keeping a lighthouse was a very demanding job for the entire family, and the smart springer spaniel pitched in and helped in his own way. But nobody could have imagined the important role that Spot would play during one cold winter day.
In the 1930s, Captain Ames and his mail boat steamed in and out of Penobscot Bay often. Ames’s wife was aware that the faithful Spot would often hear the boats cruising by the Owl’s Head Lighthouse and would ring the fogbell for them. However, on this particular day, the bell was frozen solid by the sea spray from a raging nor’easter. The clever Spot barked out into the storm, and Captain Ames acknowledged his cry with a blow of his horn to thank the brave dog.
As we fast forward to August 21, 2005, we arrive where we began this story, on a foggy morning in Maine. This was the day of the second annual open house at the Owl’s Head Lighthouse, presented by Paul and Mary Ellen Dilger, the occupants of the lighthouse. The Coast Guard owns the lighthouse, and Paul is the commander of the Coast Guard buoy tender Abbie Burgess.
But this was Spot’s big day, and a commemorative stone was placed on the grounds to honor this loveable hero. Spot is buried at the lighthouse, at the site of the old fogbell that he was famous for ringing. “We wanted to put the stone somewhere so everyone could enjoy the memory of Spot,” said Mary Ellen. The fogbell’s location is not accessible to the public.
A wonderful children’s book, titled Lighthouse Dog To The Rescue, was written about this very event. Author Angeli Perrow and illustrator Emily Harris were on hand to sign copies for the public. There was also a storytelling time for the kids to hear the story read to them. There were food and drinks available for free, served by the Owl’s Head Garden Club.
There were several hundred visitors to the lighthouse on this day. Among them were Ken and Dot Black, also known as Mr. And
Mrs. Lighthouse. Also among the visitors were Samantha Rule and her daughter Ezra Faucher who, at 6 weeks old, was the youngest visitor to the lighthouse on this day. All in attendance were appreciative of the Dilgers, whose hard work and hospitality made the event possible.
This story appeared in the
October 2005 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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