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Dogs In War

Although cute, snuggly and a great best friends dogs are/ were not always used in the sense of a companion for friendship but rather an unsuspecting weapon of attack.

In the early times dogs were used to break up enemy formations by charging in and launching on as many soldiers as possible. They were called “fur missiles” as a lot of the times they would latch onto a target creating panic as many soldiers were prepared to shoot vs physical altercations.

Among some of the dogs were five famous war dogs two German Shepard’s; Kaiser and Nemo who served in the Vietnam war. Although Kaiser died during battle licking his handlers hand (Marine Lance Cpl. Alfredo Salazar). Nemo went on to retire in a retirement kennel until the age of 11.

Chips who was a collie-German Shepard cross was one of the most decorated dogs in World War ll who went on to fight in Germany, France, North Africa and Sicily Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, and Silver Star for his actions; Sadly the commendations were revoked as military policy at the time didn’t allow such recognition for animals. He then returned to his home in Pleasantville, N.Y. in 1945.

One of the more surprising war dogs of their time was Smoky, a Yorkshire terrier who was found abandoned in February of 1944 in the jungles of New Guinea. Smoky survived over 150 air raids well using her sharp sense of hearing to warn of incoming artillery shells. Smoky was known among troops for entertaining soldiers with trick and self taught antics. She passed away at the age of 14 on February 21, 1957 beside her adoptive owner William A. Wynne.

And last but not least one of the most famous of all the war dogs to exist, Stubby an American Pitbull Terrier. The only dog to ever be given the rank of sergeant. Stubby was smuggled to France during World War l after being found as a stray in 1917 on the Yale campus by his adoptive owner, Cpl. John Robert Conroy. He participated in 17 battles, four offenses, he also used his keen senses to warn his unit of poison-gas attacks, incoming artillery fire, and to locate downed soldiers on the battlefield. They were also put to good use when he sniffed out and apprehended a German spy lurking in the trenches. The Stubby Award for Canine Heroism was named after and dedicated in honour of his bravery and sacrifice in battle. Stubby died in his owner’s arms in 1926.

These dogs were some of the greatest dogs known in history next to the many men and woman that risked their lives for us today. We thank them for their bravery and sacrifices they made for our future. Although small they are wise and brave beyond their years.

“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am.” - Charles Yu

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