Much of America grew up on tales of Lassie and his ability to let humans know when a small child has fallen down a mine shaft. Well, that is all fine and dandy, but tell me when Lassie notifies allied troops of an imminent gas attack from the German Empire. Tell me when Lassie locates a wounded soldier in the midst of no man’s land and stays with him until the Allies retrieve him. Lassie, Disney, and every other brand sporting a smart dog movie should hang their heads in shame and just salute the heroism and bravery of Stubby the war dog.
Heroes are often born in the most inconspicuous of circumstances. For Stubby, he happened to wander on to a Yale field where young Private J. Robert Conroy was training for World War I. Adopted and soon to become the mascot of the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division, Stubby would go on to learn the bugle calls, drills, and even the reported ability to salute when other men did so. Trust me when I say there are human privates who could have wished to learn so much.
Smuggled aboard the transport ship to France by Conroy, Stubby was allowed to stay after he saluted a commanding officer and would enter the heat of the fighting that was trench warfare in World War I. This short-tailed and aptly named Stubby, was about to endure a human experience for which we would write about for a century and the likes of which modern humans could only imagine. This dog experienced warfare and performed duties that would rival that of our most recent combat veterans. But how this pup came to combat is far less fascinating than what the little canine actually accomplished in the midst of it.
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