Were there dogs at the first Thanksgiving held by the pilgrims in the New World in 1621? Did they hunt down and retrieve the turkeys? Did they make friends with the Indians?

The American Kennel Club says that it is very likely there were dogs helping celebrate the first Thanksgiving.

It turns out that pilgrims weren’t the only passengers onboard the Mayflower. Man’s best friend also made the transatlantic voyage from Southampton, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts in the year 1620.

The American Kennel Club says the earliest mention of dogs being sighted in America appeared in a 17th century journal called “Mourt’s Relation”, a history of the first years of life in the brave new world. According to the story, there were two dogs – an English Springer Spaniel and a Mastiff – that were brought from England by a pilgrim named John Goodman. These two dogs participated in the first discoveries of human life and the abundant food sources found on Cape Cod during the first winter in the New World.

This Thanksgiving let’s give special thanks to the English Springer Spaniel and the Mastiff who came to America to help the Pilgrims begin their life in the new world. While both dogs helped the settlers find and retrieve much needed nourishment, they were also loyal, trusted companions that proved to be indispensable to the pilgrims in many other ways.

As we partake of the abundance on our Thanksgiving tables with platters of succulent food, let’s not forget our own faithful companions, eagerly watching every bite we take and hoping that either we’ll give in and offer them a treat, or if there are children present, one will “accidentally” drop some food on the floor for them to enjoy.

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