Bo pays tribute to war dog veterans! Have a war dog story to share?
In this post I would like to pay tribute to my cousins, the courageous and loyal dogs who have always been there, accompanying our troops into battle, keeping them safe from harm and lifting their spirits as they fight the good fight. They don't need headlines or ticker-tape parades. All they ask, is for a soft touch, a little food and a warm place to sleep whenever possible.
There are so many great stories of dogs in battle, more than I can list in one short post. If you have a war dog story you'd like to share, please leave it in a comment and I'll publish it in my "Salute to War Dogs Part II" post!
The Revolutionary War
In October of 1777, during the Battle of Germantown, American soldiers noticed a little Fox Terrier wandering between the battle lines. They scooped him up and were able to identify him by the writing on his collar as belonging to the leader of the opposing troops, General Howe.
Instead of taunting the British by claiming the dog as a war prize, Washington, a dog owner himself, cleaned him up and had him returned to the General under a flag of truce with a note which read: "General Washington's compliments to General Howe. He does himself the pleasure to return him a dog, which accidentally fell into his hands, and by the inscription on the Collar appears to belong to General Howe."
Howe praised Washington's actions as those of a true gentleman and never seemed to pursue the rebels with the same zeal he had in the past.
The Civil War
A letter from General Custer to his wife, Libbie. June 12, 1876 reads, "Tuck regularly comes when I am writing, and lays her head on the desk, rooting up my hand with her nose until I consent to stop and notice her. She and Swift, Lady and Kaiser sleep in my tent."
When the battle of Little Bighorn began, Custer's orderly, John Burkman, was unable to keep Custer's dogs from following their beloved master into to the fight. A Cheyenne warrior, Wooden Leg, remembered seeing a lone dog standing on Custer Hill after the battle had finished.
Sergeant Stubby entered combat in February of 1918. He served with the 102nd Infantry, participated in 4 offensives and 17 battles. He was wounded by a hand grenade in April but, once recovered, returned to the battlefield to be with his men.
He warned his unit of poison gas attacks, located wounded soldiers and, due to his acute sense of hearing, alerted troops of incoming artillery shells. Stubby's remains are displayed in The Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit at the Smithsonian.
Kurt, a Doberman, saved the lives of 250 Marines in the battle of Guam when he alerted them to the presence of Japanese troops. A life-sized bronze statue of Kurt was erected in his honor and is displayed at the War Dog Memorial in Guam.