Bow, Wow, WOW!

pompey headline


December 2, 1923

133 South Bunker Hill


Move over Rin-Tin-Tin, there”™s a new wonder dog in town, and his name is Pompey.


pompeyWe 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

South Bunker Hill Avenue
. The dog became increasingly agitated as they drew nearer to a rooming house just up the block. A few doors away from the building, Pompey began to growl. When his hair stood up on end, Mrs. Mitalzo bent over to try to soothe him. She had relaxed her grip on Pompey”™s leash for only a moment, and it was then that Pompey broke free. He ran up the steps of the building, and into the apartment of Mr. William A. Stark.


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 Receiving Hospital, where he was revived. Pompey stayed around long enough to see the ambulance pull away. Apparently satisfied with the outcome, the dog rejoined his mistress and the two continued their stroll.


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.rintyradio


Rin-Tin-Tin was only five days old when he was rescued from a bombed out kennel in France. WWI was drawing to a close when a U.S. solider, Lee Duncan, spotted the kennel and decided to investigate. He saved two of the puppies and brought them home with him to Los Angeles


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.