Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sergeant Stubby: War Dog Hero

Sergeant Stubby was a very famous War Dog of World War I.  He got lots of awards and medals, and he was even given the rank of Sergeant because he captured a German spy by biting him in the seat of his pants.  No other war dog has ever been given a promotion like this through combat, so that makes Sergeant Stubby very, very special!  Now I will tell you the whole story of this brave and famous dog.

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.

One time, Stubby breathed some mustard gas, which is Poisonous for dogs and for people, too.  The gas made Stubby sick, but after he got well, he always warned the soldiers whenever he smelled the faintest little bit of gas.  Also he could hear artillery shells coming before anybody else could hear them, so he let everybody know to take cover.  Stubby was a very helpful war dog in these ways, and he probably saved a lot of lives.

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.

At the end of the war, Stubby was smuggled onto a ship again with his Army buddies.  Then when he got back home, people heard about his military career, and he became very famous.  He got to be in parades and go to war bond rallies and visit hospitals.  He even got to meet President Wilson, President Harding, and President Coolidge.  And in 1921, General Pershing awarded a gold medal to Sgt. Stubby.

After that, Stubby's dad went to law school at Georgetown, and Stubby went with him.  The football team adopted Stubby as a mascot, and during halftime, Stubby would go out on the field and push the football around with his nose.  The fans really loved this!

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.

Right here in Kansas City, at the National World War I Museum, there is a brick to honor Sgt. Stubby.  This brick and the other bricks in the Walk of Honor were dedicated exactly three years ago today, which just goes to prove that people will always find ways to remember Stubby as the heroic War Dog he was.


  1. hi i made a video about this stray pit bull after McDonalds made their stray pit comment

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      That is a very good video. Thanks for sharing the link.
      Your friend, Piper