This story, one of i Still Love Dogs’ most popular, was originally posted on Memorial Day 2015.
It’s a sad fact that “Sergeant” Stubby, the most decorated dog in U.S. military history, would nowadays not be welcome on any Army or Marine Corps base in the country.
Why? Because Stubby was what would today be considered a Pit Bull mix. Pit Bulls (including American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers), along with Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers and Chow Chows, are not allowed to live in housing on military bases because they’re considered “dangerous dogs.”
Here’s hoping that in honor of Stubby – and in honor of all the pet parents of “dangerous dogs” who have so bravely served their country – the military will lift its breed ban.
14 Facts About War Hero —— er, ‘Dangerous Dog’ —— Stubby
1. Stubby was a stray dog, wandering around a Yale University field, when he was rescued in 1917 by John Robert Conroy, a soldier being trained for World War I combat.
2. Conroy didn’t want to leave Stubby behind when his unit was shipped off to France. He concealed his dog inside an overcoat and smuggled him onto his ship.
3. Once he was discovered, Stubby became the “unofficial official mascot” of the 102nd Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Division in France.
4. Stubby was hit in the leg by a grenade in early 1918, but that didn’t stop him. He kept other injured soldiers company as he recovered. (Perhaps Stubby was the world’s first therapy dog!)
5. Not long after his leg healed and he returned to the trenches, Stubby was sprayed with mustard gas. Did this stop our resilient hero? No way. In fact, he remembered the scent and barked to warn the soldiers of subsequent gas attacks, saving many lives.
6. Not only did Stubby’s sense of smell save lives, but so did his sense of hearing. He was aware of the whine of artillery shells before the soldiers could hear it, so he would bark to let them know they should take cover.
7. Because Stubby was a lot shorter than the other soldiers, he could easily scoot under barbed wire in so-called “no man’s lands” to bring supplies to wounded soldiers.
8. When a spy began speaking German to Stubby, the dog chomped onto the seat of his pants and held on until his fellow soldiers arrived.
9. Stubby spent a total of 18 months in France, participating in 17 battles on the Western Front.
10. Legend has it that Stubby even saved a little girl from getting hit by a car in Paris by pushing her out of harm’s way.
11. Stubby was the first – and only – military dog to be promoted to sergeant.
12. At the end of World War I, Conroy smuggled Stubby back to the United States, where the dog got a well-deserved hero’s welcome. He met presidents, led parades, and became an honorary lifetime member of the American Legion, Red Cross and YMCA.
13. In 1926, around the age of 10, Stubby died peacefully in Conroy’s arms.
14. Stubby is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in the exhibit, “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War.”
Photos: Public domain; amhistory.si.edu