Alfred Wilson plays with his dogs at Meadow Brook Hall in the 1950s.

The Playful Dogs of Meadow Brook

It’s International Dog Day and we’re celebrating some of the beloved pets from the Dodge and Wilson family with stories of the dogs of Meadow Brook. 

Throughout the history of Meadow Brook Hall and farms, dogs were always running around the estate, either hard at work as watchdogs on the farm or as beloved family companions. Other dogs were bred for show.  

Frances Dodge raised and showed Pekingese dogs. On one of her trips abroad, she brought home six Pekingese dogs and a kennel maid named Ruby Watson. Watson looked after the Meadow Brook dogs for 28 years.

Visitors might recognize Cleo, the St. Bernard, from her portrait currently hanging in the Upper Level Gallery. Head Housekeeper Beatrice Whitaker also painted a portrait of Cleo seen on the staff side of the house.

Linda was a Doberman Pinscher and Alfred Wilson’s companion and guard dog who had special permission to stay in his bedroom every night. Linda would often steal Alfred’s favorite chair as her nap bed until she was kicked out of it and she would steal Alfred’s bed instead. 

Daniel Dodge owned a Beagle named Penny who he brought on his hunting trips. Richard Wilson had a golden colored Cocker Spaniel appropriately named Goldie. Matilda owned many dogs including a black terrier, Boxers, and a mutt named Sunday the family rescued after finding him chained to the fence one Sunday afternoon. 

Enjoy this rare home movie showing the Dodge and Wilson family playing with their dogs at Meadow Brook Hall.


On International dog day we’re remembering the faithful companions in the history of Meadow Brook. Who are the furry friends in your life? Are they chair stealers like Linda or rescues like Sunday? 

Be captivated by the people, places and tales that make Meadow Brook Hall so remarkable. Our Estate Stories series unlocks the vaults, dives into the archives and seeks out tales of the Great Estate to pique your interest and enrich your life.