Dogs have for many years been described as ‘man’s best friend’.
They have proved over hundreds of years to be loyal, trustworthy and a devoted companion to all human beings.
This week, the Dacorum Heritage Trust delves into its archive of photographs to find examples of these friendships, whether they are within the home or at work.
Some of the early roles of working dogs that spring to mind would be in mainly rural parts of the country. These jobs would include herding sheep and cattle and hunting.
War dogs have been employed throughout history, even used by the Greeks and Romans to carry messages during battles.
A First World War postcard, sent from by J. J. Perry of the Herts Regiment to his girlfriend Lily, signed off “Your ever loving sweetheart Joe”, shows an image on the front of an ambulance dog.
These dogs were employed by the Red Cross to help search for wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Their acute hearing and sense of smell was a great asset, being trained to detect even the faint sound of breathing.
Often particular breeds of dogs were used as mascots during wartime.
The main picture shows a group of First World War soldiers recovering from injuries at Boxmoor House, with two British bulldogs seated proudly at the front. The presence of pets greatly helped in the recovery of war casualties.
Canadian huskies were employed on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition in 1914. One of the 22 men involved was Boxmoor born Walter How, who lived in London Road and went to Two Waters School, until moving to London when he was 10 years old.
Shackleton had planned to cross Antarctica via the South Pole, but his ship became trapped in pack ice, drifting helplessly northward for eight months before sinking in 1915.
It was planned that the dogs, amongst them Owd Bob, Mooch and Splitlip were to take the explorers and their equipment on sledges, travelling 16 miles a day.
However, when the ship hit the pack ice, the dogs would become companions and a helpful distraction to the shipmates.
The explorers were eventually rescued and returned home in 1916.
In 1888, Kodak released a camera onto the market with the slogan ‘You press the button, we do the rest’.
With the increased simplicity of this new technology, more and more people were getting involved in photography.
So for the first time in history, families could capture real life images themselves. They took pictures of their pets as well as their family and friends.
What is so amusing about these images, is the fact that in almost all the photos the dog is the one who is seated in the chair.
Maybe it was to ensure they stayed still enough for the photo to be taken, or perhaps to reflect their importance in the family circle.
Those photos on this page were also taken by Edward Sammes. Photographers were still fairly rare in the early 1900s, and the glass plates of this collection date from 1898 to 1912.
Does anyone recognise any of the people in these pictures?