Gettysburg has a well-earned reputation as a dog-friendly town. Its welcoming spirit is cited frequently in travel blogs* and other publications. “Dogs welcome” signs can be spotted in windows of downtown shops, sometimes accompanied by water bowls beside the door where dogs can quench their thirst. The town has become the annual destination for a popular convention of greyhounds and their people. Several local ice cream spots cater to canine visitors with cool treats especially for them.
When dogs visit Gettysburg, they often pay their respects at a statue dedicated to one of their own. Sallie Ann Jarrett was the loyal mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, a regiment that fought at Gettysburg in July 1863. When the soldiers of the 11th were forced to retreat to Cemetery Hill during the first day’s fighting, they discovered that their dog was nowhere to be found, and they believed she was dead. But loyal Sallie had remained behind on Oak Ridge, guarding her dead and wounded friends. You can read more about her and other loyal dogs of the Civil War here.
Sallie’s statue is part of the regiment’s monument, dedicated in 1890, located along Doubleday Avenue just north of town. Like the figure of the skirmisher who stands atop the granite slab, Sallie faces across farmer John Forney’s fields, alert to watch for the enemy. But because she lies at the front of the monument on a pedestal at its base, she is not visible from the road, and many visitors who admire Doubleday Avenue’s statuary while driving or walking by are unaware of the life-size bull terrier on the opposite side of the monument.
But many Gettysburg visitors who love dogs, including many who travel with dogs, know that Sallie is there, and they have made her statue a must-see destination. Some leave her “gifts” of flags, flowers, or biscuits. From time to time, some of her visitors share “souvenir” photos of their dogs (or themselves) and Sallie with a small photo gallery we created for that purpose. (If you have a photo with Sallie to share, please contact us!)
What should you know about traveling to Gettysburg with your dog? The National Park Service, which administers Gettysburg National Military Park, offers guidance on how to keep your pet safe during your visit and also how to ensure that your dog will be
a good neighbor. Most important: Never leave a dog unattended in a parked vehicle in warm weather (or at any time in the parking areas of the Museum and Visitor Center), and do not allow your dog off leash at the Park. Know specifically what sites are appropriate for dogs and where they are not permitted. Read more here.
Have you visited Gettysburg with your dog? What memories have you kept to share?
*This post on the blog of Gettysburg’s official travel and tourism organization is just one example of places to visit and things to do for dogs and their people.