Friday, March 16, 2012

Sergeant Stubby-A Canine War Hero

In this months Bark magazine there is a wonderful article about therapy dogs working in Iraq with the troops.   While official army therapy dogs are a new idea,  canine soldiers have been helping human soldiers deal with the stress of combat for a long time.   Nearly a hundred years ago an American Pit Bull Terrier Mix named Stubby, on account of his abbreviated tail, enjoyed a long well celebrated military career before passing away on March 16, 1926.
Sergeant Stubby, as he would eventually be known,  was born in Connetticut in 1917 and was found on or near Yale University by Private J. Robert Conroy.  Conroy was a member of the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division.  He brought Stubby along with him on his military training and before long Stubby had learned to respond to bugle calls, to follow drills, and even to salute!  Stubby quickly became the pet and mascot of the entire division.

When the division headed for France to fight in WWI, Stubby came along.   While fighting in the trenches, he became ill from exposure to toxic gas and had to be treated in a field hospital.  Afterwards, Stubby learned to recognize the smell of gas and his superior canine sense of smell allowed him to warn the troops as soon as gas was present.

Stubby also used his sense of smell to locate wounded men, he would bark until medics arrive or lead them back to the safety of the trenches.   Stubby's greatest military moment came when he captured a German Spy.  Stubby barked and bit at the man until Allied troops arrived and captured him.   For his bravery he was awarded the rank of Sergeant, becoming the most decorated dog in WWI

Stubby also worked as a therapy dog before there was a name for such a thing.   He was injured in a grenade attack and treated in a field hospital.  After he recovered he stayed in the hospital visiting with wounded soldiers and offering them comfort.

Later in life Stubby became the mascot of the Georgetown Hoyas
After his death in 1926 Stubby's remains where put on display in the Smithsonian in their war exhibit. 

Sergeant Stubby also has a brick at the WWI Monument, Liberty Memorial. 

It reads:  "Sergeant Stubby Hero Dog of WWI A Brave Stray."  

Note-Don't Forget About Our Pugs in The Kitchen Give Away


  1. Sgt. Stubby was quite the dog! What a long full life he had serving in the military.

  2. Thanks for sharing Stubby's story. He was a true hero!

    About 5 years ago, I watched a documentary (War Dogs) on dogs used in the Vietnam War. There were many canine heroes that helped the soldiers survive physically and emotionally. Tragically, when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam they were ordered to leave all "equipment" behind and the dogs were considered equipment and were left behind. The documentary had all these interviews with vets who have never gotten over having to leave the dogs behind. This film still haunts me was so unbelievably sad!

  3. Wow, that was an awesome story! My Gampy was in the Air Force so I'm going to make sure he reads this. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

  4. Stubby was totally awesome. I wish I could be so brave like him! Dogs named Stubby have a special place in our hearts. My pug pal Stubby taught me how to be Green and save the earth. He has passed aways now but I will never forget him, just like Seargent Stubby.

    OMP what a Hero he was! I salute S. Stubby.


  5. Stubby led the way for what are now thousands of brave stories of canine heroes. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!


  6. what a cool story and brave dog!! it's strange because he looks a little different then modern day pits. his head isnt nearly as large and his head looks like a cross betweenn a pit and a boxer.

  7. That is a very cool story about Stubby! Thanks for sharing it with us :)

    Pugs & Kisses,

    Yoda, Brutus & Yoda

  8. Sergeant Stubby was definitely a hero! Dogs are are so important in our lives. I could not imagine life without one.

    Nina, Myshka, Sasha, Betsy, Lucy, Phoebe, and Lily

  9. Pugs can be great heros too! I think we can provide good humour for the troops.