Igloo (Iggy), Pet, Mascot Polar Expeditions. During the five expeditionary trips Admiral Richard Byrd and his party made to the North Pole for the purposes of exploration and map making, he became an international hero, and during his lifetime received numerous awards: 22 citations and special commendations, 9 were for bravery and 2 for extraordinary heroism in saving the lives of others. Other medals: the Congressional Medal of Honor, Congressional Life Saving Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Flying Cross, and the Navy Cross. His explorations accounted for the discovery of hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory which were claimed for the United States. However, Byrd had a noted companion. He was an ordinary Wire Fox Terrier who performed no tricks, heroic deeds, nor appeared in any movies and could have been any ordinary canine owned by any American youngster. The animal was a stray found by a friend of famous explorer Rear Admiral Byrd who beseeched him to give the animal a home knowing he loved dogs. The terrier became his constant companion and accompanied Byrd on his first Antarctic expedition in 1928 where he received the moniker "Igloo" and the nickname "Iggy." Byrd named the Arctic base "Little America" and the terrier was his companion during solitude while holed up during the grueling Antarctic winter when he wrote two published accounts detailing the hardships and successes of the endeavor. The dog had to be specially dressed for the polar blizzards. Upon return to New York City, he rode down Broadway with his master showered with ticker tape and later presented to President Herbert Hoover at the White House. Igloo was mentioned in books about the expedition as well as frequently the subject of news dispatches. With the terrier aboard, aviation history was made. In 1926, the first flight over the mythical home of Santa Claus, The North Pole (Pole consists of no land but a sea of ice). In 1929, originating from the Arctic "Little America" base, the first flight over the South Pole was made. Interesting footnotes...A book entitled simply "Igloo" was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in 1931. It was intended mainly for juvenile readers and consisted of numerous illustrations by Diana Thorne highlighting the story of the terrier as he accompanied Byrd on his expeditions. Children around the world were enamored with the Fox Terrier. The plight of Igloo was national news as he lingered near death inflicted with food poisoning. A staff of Boston veterinarians labored to save the small dog. Admiral Byrd away on a lecturing trip, canceled an engagement and rushed to charter an airplane for a return to Boston. It was too late, Igloo was gone at age six. Time Magazine carried an obituary. Thousands of letters of condolences were written by children from around the world and given to his owner. Hundreds of offers to replace the dog undulated Byrd. Igloo was interred at the pet cemetery in Dedham, Massachusetts. An appropriate marker in the shape of an iceberg marks the spot. On the stone is a bronze plaque emblazoned with this epitaph: "Igloo-He Was More Than A Friend" In Winchester, Virginia in front of the Court house stands a life size bronze statue of Byrd, sculpted by Dr Jay Morton. The Admiral is dressed in arctic garb. His right hand stretches down to pat "Igloo" his loyal terrier. A bit of trivia...Look a like Igloo Doghouses...You may have purchased one for your pet. It was fashioned and named after "Igloo" the famous pet of Admiral Byrd.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield