Along with the thousands of passengers who traveled aboard the SS United States during her years of service, there was a very special crew member that delighted all who knew him: Chota Peg. A lovely cocker spaniel, Chota lived his entire life aboard the various ships on which Captain John Anderson (pictured) worked.
Chota Peg, which is Hindustani for “small drink,” was bought by the Andersons as a four month old. He eventually ended up becoming the Captain’s most faithful companion at sea.
Chota Peg’s maritime career began in 1943 aboard the troop transport John Ericsson. After the war, he managed to stowaway on the SS Washington. By this time the pooch had become an “old salty dog,” however stormy seas still made him nervous.
After his tour aboard the SS Washington, Chota Peg managed to sneak aboard the SS America in 1949. Later, in 1952, he first sailed on the then-new SS United States. Although he wasn’t officially recognized as a canine crew member, he became well known by the world’s great statesmen and celebrities who were entertained by the Captain.
Chota Peg logged a happy 2,000,000 nautical miles accrued over his more than 14 years of life. He died peacefully on July 1, 1958 aboard the SS United States in the master’s stateroom while the ship was at sea approaching Southampton. Captain Alexanderson, the master during that crossing, later reported that the ship’s doctors worked hard to save Chota. He radioed Commodore Anderson saying that his friend had passed away and was buried at sea with full honors.
SS United States the story of America’s greatest ocean liner by William H. Miller, 1991.
SS United States fastest ship in the world by Frank O. Brynard and Robert Hudson Westover, 2002.
The Naples Record, Naples, NY. 1956.
Photos courtesy of Charles Anderson.
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