Muggins, Canadian Red Cross Fundraising Dog

Muggins was a lovable, and incredibly famous, Canadian Red Cross mascot from a bygone era.

Standing roughly 12 inches tall, Muggins was a loveable Spitz dog with fuzzy white hair, who would wander downtown Victoria, B.C. at the corner of Belleville and Government during the Great War with two change donation boxes tied to his back.

Postcard of Muggins at his portable collection stand for the Red Cross, 1918.

He quickly acquired fame locally and internationally, visiting ferries and freightliners stopping in Victoria and appearing in photos with the Prince of Wales in 1919 and with famous Canadian General Sir Arthur Currie.

Muggins helped raise an astounding total of $21,000 (equivalent to nearly $240,000 in 2016) for veterans associations and the Red Cross’s war effort.

One of the eight medals awarded to Muggins. Presented to “Muggins” for faithful services rendered during the Great War.

“In total, Muggins’ efforts during the Two Great Wars earned him eight unique medals from around the world.”

Muggins reportedly died of pneumonia sometime in 1920 at age seven and his body was turned over to a taxidermist so that he could live on – albeit in a stuffed version – in the B.C. Legislative assembly.

Postcard of Muggins the Red Cross dog with two soldiers and a Red Cross ambulance, 1919.

He continued to raise money for the Red Cross during the Second World War, when his body was on display in the Red Cross Superfluities Store in Victoria where people could donate items and at a special War Veterans fundraising stand at the corner of Belleville and Government where he once stood.

Postcard of Muggins the Red Cross dog and the Prince of Wales, with young Doris Baker presenting a photograph of Muggins to the Prince, Premier John Oliver on left.

The American and French Red Cross awarded his efforts with prestigious medals, as did the Esquimalt Military Hospital. In total, Muggins’ efforts during the Two Great Wars earned him eight unique medals from around the world.

Story from the Canadian Red Cross and photos from Saanich Archives.

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