Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sergeant Stubby: War Dog Hero
Stubby was first found as a stray in 1917 on the campus of a big school called Yale. He was adopted by a man named John Robert Conroy, who was training with the 102nd Infantry, 26th Division, which was also called the Yankee Division. Stubby got his name because of his short, stubby tail. He was mostly a pit bull terrier, but he was kind of small, so he may have had some Boston terrier and bull terrier mixed in, too. Anyway, the important point is that he was a very smart and feisty dog.
Private Conroy, Stubby's dad, taught him to march with the troops and also to salute. Well, sort of. All the men in the unit liked Stubby a lot, and when they got on a ship to go to France, they smuggled Stubby onto the ship with them. After they got to France, they mostly lived and fought in trenches because that's the way a lot of WW I was fought. But don't ask me why because I have not studied military history, so I can't explain it. Anyway, Stubby took part in four offensives and seventeen battles, all together.
Another thing Stubby helped with was finding wounded soldiers in No Man's Land, which was the name for the space between the German trenches and the Allied trenches. No Man's Land was a scary place full of barbed wire and shell holes, and you could get shot there. One day while Stubby was looking for wounded soldiers, he found a German spy in the bushes. The German tried to run away, but Stubby bit him on the legs and knocked him down. Then he kept him there by biting the seat of his pants until the American soldiers came. This is how Stubby single-pawedly captured an enemy spy and won the rank of Sergeant.
In April of 1918, Stubby got wounded in the leg and chest by shrapnel from a grenade, and he had to go to the field hospital for surgery. While he was healing, he visited the other wounded soldiers and cheered them up.
March 16, 1926 was a sad day because that's when Stubby died. He was 9 or 10 years old by then, which meant he lived a pretty long life, considering he was in the war and all that. You can see Stubby at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. Some people say that the U.S. K-9 Corps was created especially because people saw what a good soldier Stubby had been.