England wasn’t the only place where turnpit dogs were popular. Their breeding continued for several centuries, trekking from England to the United States because they were useful not only for grilling meat.
As Stanley Coren explains in History’s Footprints: The Course of Events in Dogs and Humans, the dogs in the carousel churned butter, squeezed fruit, pumped water, and milled grain. It was used for other household chores such as washing clothes.
However, according to NPR, Turnpit dogs were not as popular as in the UK. However, there are some records of Turnpit Dog sales, including Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette..
But the working conditions, especially in the kitchen, weren’t very good for the dogs. Many dogs were run without water for hours by a lit spit. The cook would even throw hot coals on the wooden wheel to liven up the little dog’s paws.
It was so labor intensive that many turnpit dogs worked in pairs and made trade-offs with meat-turning hamster wheels.
Even on Sundays, the wonderful dog could not rest, as his owner frequently took him to church to warm his paws.