The residents of Jamestown have always had a soft spot in
their hearts for dogs.
One of the most notable early canines was Ponto, a
bulldog that made his home with the railroad crews at the depot in the early
days of Jamestown.
Ponto was known to growl and snarl at any dog that passed
by the railroad offices. This made him a little less than popular with the
local populace. According to the Jamestown Alert, on at least three separate
occasions, Ponto was the subject of poisoning efforts.
He must have had a pretty tough system. Strychnine was
readily available back then.
His disposition must have been legendary in Jamestown.
The paper even mentioned when a farm dog, in town with his owner, took a bone
from Ponto “without getting chewed into sausage meat.”
He must have caught the bulldog on a good day.
Ponto even made his mark in theatre.
According to one story, he accompanied some of the
railroad men to a dog menagerie at one of the local theatres. As the trained
dogs came on stage Ponto left his seat in the audience, paid for by his
railroad crew friends, and jumped on stage and disrupted the entire show.
This got Ponto, and his friends, kicked out of the
Not wanting to miss the show. The railroad gang paid
another admission for themselves and Ponto, and got in again. This time they
had balcony seats away from the stage.
As soon as the show started, Ponto slipped away from the
group, ran down the balcony stairs and was back creating havoc on stage in a
matter of moments.
Ponto had a legendary life of a railroad dog in
Jamestown. He even accompanied crews when they went out to repair tracks. Ponto
died at about six-years-of-age when his back was broken when he was struck by a
caboose on one of those repair trips.
I thought of these stories because I’ve been thinking
about dogs a lot lately.
It came about when I was writing about some of the
hardest working dogs in this region. The dogs trained by Service Dogs for
America at Jud. I recently wrote a book about the dogs and the people they
It was one of the most rewarding creative efforts I have
This Saturday, Nov. 5, I’ll be signing copies of that
book at Babb’s Coffee House in downtown Jamestown from 1 to 3 p.m. All proceeds
from the sale of the book go to further the efforts of Service Dogs for
They will even have a dog along to show the skills of a trained
service dog. In fact, the dog will be signing copies as well.
Although I don’t think he will be disrupting live theatre
while he’s in Jamestown.