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World War I’s Unlikely Canine Hero


Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2018

WW1 dog.jpg

Via Washington Examiner:

Exactly 100 years ago, the guns fell silent. At the famous eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the nightmare that was Wold War I came to an end with the armistice signed in a railroad passenger car in France. More than four years of fighting had left an estimated 9 million combatants and 6 million civilians dead.

Heroes emerged from that carnage. The most famous in America was Sgt. Alvin York, a quiet Tennessee farm boy who on one incredible day killed at least 25 German soldiers and captured 132 others.

And there was Sgt. Stubby, too.

He was the four-legged variety of hero. It all started innocently enough in the summer of 1917. Soldiers from the 102nd Infantry were training on the Yale campus when a stray dog wandered up. He was a one-year-old brindle, part Boston terrier, part bull dog, part Heaven only knew what else — just an all-American mutt that took a shine to the unit and hung around to watch it drill.

Cpl. Robert Conroy took a shine to the dog in return. A strong bond instantly developed.

The dog quickly attached himself to the 102nd. He enjoyed learning new tricks, including lifting his right paw to his temple in a military salute. Since he obviously was now with the unit for the duration, he needed a name. Someone suggested Stubby.

Orders eventually came for the 102nd to ship out to France. Soldiers were severely restricted on what they could bring with them, and dogs weren’t on the list. But there was no way Stubby would stay behind. So, Conroy stashed Stubby under his overcoat and smuggled him aboard.

When Conroy’s commander eventually discovered the dog, he was furious. Stubby drew himself to attention and smartly saluted. Who could resist a gesture like that? Stubby stayed with the Doughboys.

The 102nd went straight into the trenches, commencing eight months of serious combat. The smart little dog became more than a mere pet; he was a battlefield asset. Stubby instinctively understood lives were at risk and defended the men with the same ferocity of your family dog defending your house.

Stubby’s baptism of fire came in early 1918 when he was under 24-hour artillery bombardment for a full month. His sharp nose and keen hearing detected incoming artillery shells and poison gas attacks before they struck. Injured in the leg by shrapnel, he was sent to a hospital in the rear, where he cheered wounded warriors while he recovered. Back to the front, his comrades had a special gas mask made for him.

Stubby also located and rescued injured soldiers. In the Argonne, he even captured a German spy by biting the man in the leg or bottom (accounts differ) and holding him until the Doughboys arrived.

That prompted the 102nd’s commanding general to nominate Stubby for the rank of sergeant. There’s no indication the nomination was ever acted upon, but that didn’t matter. He was known as Sgt. Stubby for the rest of his life. (He later received his own YMCA veteran’s card entitling him to “three bones a day and a place to sleep.”)

Dapandico | November 11, 2018 10:01 pm

Well done Stubby. Good dog! :whistle:(y)