Hamilton County


Part of W. C. Buried on Pacific Atoll

On a tiny atoll in the southwest Pacific, a gravesite marks the last resting place of what was once one of Webster City’s best-known and most popular residents. Brown-skinned natives tend the grave with painstaking care, for they, like the residents of Webster City and all the men on a certain one of Uncle Sam’s fighting ships, had learned to love “Pax” Pingenot, the pedigreed black cocker spaniel formerly owned by Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Pingenot of this city.

Wilbur Pingenot went into the service last May. He took his boot training at Farragut, Idaho, and then went to armed guard school at San Diego. Active service at sea followed, and it was when his wife, Maureta Pingenot, took Pax with her to visit the ship at San Francisco in November that Pax found fame.

Pax Takes Over Men and officers of the boat insisted that Pax was the very mascot they had been looking for – but first there was a certain matter of getting rid of a poodle which held down that post. By unanimous vote, the riddance was accomplished in short order, and Pax took over. He was a favorite, and everyone’s pal, from the very start. He was constantly at Wilbur’s heels, but he belonged to everyone on board.

A special porthole was built so that he might look out. A special bunk was built beneath the porthole. A special tub was built for his Sunday bath. He sat on a special chair beside Pingenot when the latter wrote to his wife. Pax ate the best food on the ship, starting off with a thick steak the night he joined the crew, and he was the cook’s favorite visitor. Co-incidentally, the cook was his second-best friend.

Pax took time off from chasing sea-gulls (a pastime which almost took him into the Big Drink on several occasions) and guarding his sleeping pals, even snapping at the captain when he dared intrude long enough to be initiated and awarded his Shellback certificate when the ship crossed the equator. But such a life was too good to last.

Couldn’t Be Found

When the crew went ashore on a little island in the Pacific, Pax went along. But when the crew returned to the ship, Pax could not be found. The natives promised to find him and take good care of him till Wilbur and his mates returned – but when the ship came back they silently handed Wilbur the harness which Pax had worn.

The natives had searched for the dog every day for two weeks – and finally found his body on the beach. They gave him a fine funeral and burial> They said he had either eaten poisoned food or drank too much salt water, but Wilbur isn’t sure. He wrote Maureta: “I believe Pax thought he would rather be dead than apart from us.”

Source: Freeman-Journal, Webster City, Iowa, April 19, 1944