Stubby the most decorated dog in World War I

Have you ever heard of a dog being decorated for brave deeds in war? There are many cases of animals that were war heroes, carrier pigeons, horses and also dogs. This is the case of Stubby, the incredible dog sergeant. His heroism during World War I made him a legend. He is a symbol of bravery and loyalty, he left an indelible mark on military history.

Stubby Award
Stubby Award – Image from Wikipedia
From vagabond to soldier

Stubby was a Boston Bull Terrier puppy found by a soldier in 1917 on the grounds of Yale University. He quickly won the heart of the savior of him and the other soldiers of the 102nd Infantry Regiment. Despite the barracks’ strict rules against pets, Stubby joined the regiment and quickly learned military skills, including saluting with his right paw.

Soldiers smuggled it aboard the ship transporting American troops to France. The dog soon impressed the officers with his abilities and earned a permanent place in the unit. Thus began the legend of the decorated dog.

He participated in the war as a soldier

He participated in 17 battles during World War I, in which he demonstrated unwavering bravery and loyalty. He did different tasks such as detecting mustard gas attacks with his keen sense of smell before the soldiers did.

It could also locate wounded soldiers on the battlefield, alerting rescuers with its barking. He even captured a German spy, whom he bit and kept restrained until American soldiers arrived.

During the recapture of Château-Thierry by the American army, the women of the town made a suede coat for Stubby. This coat became her uniform and they added all his decorations.

  • 3 service strips.
  • Yankee Division YD patch.
  • French medal from the Battle of Verdun.
  • Decoration from the First Animal Convention of the American Legion in Minneapolis in 1919.
  • New Haven World War I Veterans Award.
  • Grand Medal of the St. Mihiel campaign
  • Purple Heart
  • Medal of the Château-Thierry campaign.
  • Recognition of the American Legion.
Stubby with his blanket
Stubby in his military uniform. Image from Wikipedia

Stubby’s heroism did not go unnoticed, as he even sustained several war wounds. He was the first dog to receive a military rank, he was promoted to sergeant. Additionally, he received multiple medals, including a gold medal awarded by General John J. Pershing. His fame spread, and he made him a symbol of canine bravery.

Life after the war

After the war ended, Stubby returned to the United States as a hero. He participated in parades and fundraisers, and became the official mascot of the Georgetown University football team. He lived with his beloved rescuer and friend Conroy until his death in 1926.

His story is a testament to the deep bond between humans and dogs, and his legacy lives on. His stuffed remains are in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The official artist of the Capitol, Charles Whipple painted his portrait and he is also the protagonist of a book and an animated film.

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