The Sinking of the Titanic and Rigel the hero dog- Legend or Fact?
The New York Herald on 21 April, 1912 ran a story headlined “Survivor’s Cries Weak, Dog’s Bark Causes Rescue of Boatload’: (text reprinted from NY Herald)
Not the least among the heroes of the Titanic was Rigel, a big black Newfoundland dog, belonging to the first officer, who went down with his ship, But for Rigel the fourth boat picked up might have been run down by the Carpathia. For three hours he swam in the icy water where the Titanic went down, evidently looking for his master, and was instrumental in guiding the boatload of survivors to the gangway of the Carpathia.
Jonas Briggs, a seaman aboard the Carpathia now has Rigel and told the story of the dog's heroism. The Carpathia was moving slowly about, looking for boats, rafts and anything which might be afloat. Exhausted with their efforts, weak from lack of food and exposure to the cutting wind, and terror stricken, the men and women in the fourth boat had drifted under the Carpathia's starboard bow. They were dangerously close to the steamship, but too weak to shout a warning loud enough to reach the bridge.
The boat might not have been seen were in not for the sharp barking of Rigel, who was swimming ahead of the craft, and valiantly announcing his position. His barks attracted the attention of Captain Rostron and he went to the starboard end of the bridge to see where they came from and saw the boat. He immediately ordered the engines stopped and the boat came alongside the starboard gangway.
Care was taken to take Rigel aboard, but he appeared little affected by his long trip through the ice cold water. He stood by the raft and barked until Captain Rostron called Briggs and had him take the dog below.
While this is a touching story, it is apochryphal and does not have any corroborating factual evidence - read more.