Dog veterans: Sergeant Stubby

Narrated from: Dog Stories

War dogs have always been important and rather popular members of the USA military forces. When one hears the word “dogs of war”, it is only natural to picture alert German Shepherds trotting beside their human partners, ever alert and ready for battle.

However, one of the most celebrated canine military heroes has nothing to do with the aristocratic German Shepherds – in fact, he can be best described as 100% mutt, and his name was Stubby!
Well, not exactly – Stubby was actually an American Pit Bull terrier. However, he was a stray, with mixed blood and a peculiar short tail – hence the name.

Stubby got into the military when he was a little pup – in 1917 he was adopted by the soldiers from the 26th Yankee Division, after his future owner J. Robert Conroy found him near the division’s training camp.

The soldiers were training, as you probably understand, because they were to travel to Europe, to represent their country in the first of the World Wars that changed everything.

By the time the training was over, Stubby was already well-liked in Conroy’s regiment, the 102nd Infantry. Thus the soldiers adopted him as an “unofficial official mascot” when they boarded their ship and sailed for war-plagued France to join the war.

In France, Stubby initially served only as morale-booster for the entrenched soldiers, as he traveled up and down the line, his short stump of a tail bringing a little joy to the soldiers, who greeted each day not knowing if it would be their last.

However, war spares no one – and Stubby became more than a mascot. During his eighteen months of military service, this dog took part in seventeen battles and four offensives. The dog would often rush to the front lines, thus reminding the soldiers where the path to victory lay. During an engagement, Stubby got so excited that he joined the Allies when they were pursuing retreating Germans – and was punished, as a hand grenade went off near him and severely wounded his leg.

However, the brave dog was sent to the rear for a while, where he kept company with the wounded soldiers – but returned to the trenches as soon as he could!

Even though he was no military dog, Stubby single-handedly managed to spot and capture a German spy, sent to map the Americans’ positions. This was his one great act – but it’s the little things that were far more important.

The dog acted as a sentry for the entire line, a forerunner of the war dogs that were soon to become a valuable part of the US military force. The brave dog would often lead teams of paramedics to wounded soldiers, stuck out in the trenches. Also, Stubby was often the one to warn his comrades about oncoming poison gas attacks, and even when to duck, since he managed to hear oncoming artillery blasts.

For his brave service, Stubby was honored as a hero and the grateful French even made him a special chamois blanket embroidered with the flags of the allies to hold all his medals – including an Iron Cross captured from the German spy!

Stubby lived to the end of the war, and his owner smuggled him back to America – where Stubby was to become a true celebrity! The little dog’s story was heard throughout the country and Stubby even visited the White House (twice!), and was awarded different medals and honors.

During his service Stubby reached the rank of Sergeant, but retired from active duty and decided to hang out with Conroy, who went to study law in Georgetown.

A real pro, he soon became the mascot of the university football team.

to top of the page
Previous Next

Other articles that might interest you::