Name:Harrison Location:United States

The Original Lovable Little Fuzzball

Here's the straight stuff.

The adventures of Harrison are true.
Try a few of his Crunchy Bites for a taste.
--Alpha Human Mom

Friday, September 30, 2005

National Dog Week - V

Lots of people like to say "Stubby" was the first war dog, but we canines have been helpin' you humans (good and bad) for thousands of years. There's a reason a breed is called the Pharoah Hound, ya' know.

"In 1935, a burial tomb of a dog was found in the great cemetery west of the Pyramid of Cheops at Giza with the following inscription recording the ritual burial ceremony, "The dog which was the guard of His Majesty, Abuwtiyuw is his name." This was a "Pharaoh Hound" type dog. His Majesty did this for him in order that he (the dog) might be honored before the great God Anubis."

And Shakespeare mentioned that war dogs business when writin' Julius Ceasar--"Cry “Havoc,” and let slip the dogs of war." (Julius Cæsar, Act III Sc. 1)--so there must have been some serious canine combatants back then.

Okay, maybe Stubby should be called the first United States war dog, but that wouldn't be quite true either. Benjamin Franklin wanted dogs to be part of the colonial militia, and we did our bit durin' the Civil War as well.

"One of the best-known dog mascots was "Jack," the brown and white bull terrier mascot of the 102nd Pennsylvania Infantry. This unit of volunteer firemen claimed that Jack understood bugle calls and obeyed only the men of "his" regiment.

"Jack's career spanned nearly all the regiment's battles in Virginia and Maryland. The dog was present at the Wilderness campaigns, Spotsylvania, and the siege of Petersburg. After a battle he would seek out the dead and wounded of his regiment. Jack himself was wounded severely at Malvern Hill and was captured twice. The second time, he was exchanged for a Confederate soldier at Belle Isle. Jack disappeared shortly after being presented a silver collar purchased by his human comrades, an apparent victim of theft."

Geeze…you humans are a real piece of work.

But back to "semi-official" war dogs and Sergeant Stubby.

"…[O]ne night Stubby made doggy history. It was an unusally quiet night in the trenches. Some of the boys were catching cat naps in muddy dugouts, and Stubby was stretched out beside [Corporal Robert] Conroy. Suddenly his big blunt head snapped up and his ears pricked alert. The movement woke Conroy, who looked at the dog sleepily just in time to see him sniff the air tentatively, utter a low growl, then spring to his feet, and go bounding from the dugout, around a corner out of sight. A few seconds later there was a sharp cry of pain and then the sound of a great scuffle outside. Conroy jumped from his bed, grabbed his rifle and went tearing out towards the direction of the noise.

"A ludicrous sight met his eyes. Single-pawed, in a vigorous offensive from the rear, Stubby had captured a German spy, who'd been prowling through the trenches. The man was whirling desperately in an effort to shake off the snarling bundle of canine tooth and muscle that had attached itself to his differential. But Stubby was there to stay.

"It took only afew moments to capture the Hun and disarm him, but it required considerably more time to convince Stubby that his mission had been successfully carried out and that he should now release the beautiful hold he had on that nice, soft German bottom."

When the war ended, everyone in the AEF knew Stubby. He had shaken hands with President Woodrow Wilson and been made an honorary sergeant by the Marine Corp. At home, Stubby became a national hero. He met presidents Harding and Coolidge, and had General John "Black Jack" Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, pin a gold medal made by the Humane Society on his chest, declarin' him a "hero of the highest caliber."…

In 1921 Robert Conroy headed to Georgetown law school and took Stubby along. While there (accordin' to a 1983 account in Georgetown Magazine, Stubby "served several terms as mascot to the football team." Between the halves, Stubby would nudge a football around the field.

Hmmm… I know a couple of football teams that could use him today.

posted by Harrison at 10:36 PM


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