On this 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour we stand silent to remember the millions of men and women who gave their lives on behalf of their country. However, we often forget that dogs also played a vital role in the war. It is estimated that by 1918, Germany had employed 30,000 dogs, Britain, France and Belgian over 20,000 and Italy 3000.
These dogs were positioned in a wide variety of roles such as sentry, scout dogs, messenger dogs and casualty dogs. Casualty dogs were trained to find wounded or dying soldiers on the battlefield and were equipped with medical supplied to aid those suffering.
At first the Americans did not use dogs in the war but this quickly changed when Corporal Robert Conroy fell in love with a stray Bull Terrier who was found wandering through an army training session at Yale Field. Corporal Conroy became so attached to Stubby that when it was time to ship out he smuggles the dog onto the vessel bound for France. When he was discovered he was allowed to remain with the 102nd infantry, 26th division. Stubby was present at many battles and survived many injuries. He became so well known that he was treated for his injuries in Red Cross hospitals alongside his human companions. Having survived gas attacks he became very sensitive to the smell of gas and was able to detect gas attacks long before his human comrades and alert them in time to take cover. Stubby’s major triumph was hearing a German Spy who had tried to sneak into Conroy’s camp in the middle of the night. Stubby was able to grab the intruders leg and immobilize him until Conroy and the other troops came to investigate and imprison the German. Stubby was named a hero and quickly became the most decorated and highly ranked military dog in history.
To this day service dogs continue to serve veterans by offering companionship and love. Many Brave men and women would have suffered even more in times of war had it not been for the special help of animals.
This blog post was written by McQueen Animal Hospital, a veterinary clinic in Brampton providing quality affordable veterinary care