December 2, 1923
We humans may be nasally challenged with our measly 5 million scent receptors, but German Shepherds have 225 million – and they know how to use them all. With that kind of super hero sniff power, it was no surprise when a German Shepherd named Pompey caught the aroma of gas fumes, desperation, and imminent death in the air. The surprise was that he was galvanized into action.
Pompey and his mistress, Mrs. Mitalzo, were out for a stroll on
The 24 year old Stark had just been discharged from his job as an elevator operator at a downtown hotel. Management had told him that he was through because he didn’t close the elevator doors properly. The despondent man had taken several newspapers and fashioned them into a long cone. He placed the small end of the improvised suicide device over a gas jet in his room, and he placed the large end over his face. Stark then turned on the gas and lay down to die.
When Pompey entered the room, Stark was unconscious and near death. The valiant dog dragged the motionless Stark into the safety of the hallway. Mrs. Mitalzo ran into the rooming house to search for Pompey and discovered him watching over the dying man.
Police were summoned and Stark was taken to the
Pompey vanished from the pages of the Los Angeles Times after his brief moment in the limelight, but his famed counterpart, Rin-Tin-Tin, was just beginning his film career in 1923.
Rin-Tin-Tin was only five days old when he was rescued from a bombed out kennel in
Rin-Tin-Tin (aka Rinty) was seen performing in a local dog show by movie producer Charles Jones – and a star was born. Rinty worked hard and would often relax by listening to the radio.
His career lasted for over a decade and eventually earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Rinty passed away quietly in his sleep at the ripe old age of 14.