Back in March, in a post about creating a new holiday for K9 veterans, we referenced the story of Sgt. Stubby, a pit bull who became a national hero for his service to the troops in World War I. To commemorate memorial day, yesterday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette featured a story about Sgt. Stubby and how he came to be in the trenches of France in 1918.
The dog showed up at training camp one day on the grounds of Yale University, and was such a hit with the soldiers that he was allowed to stay (he would drill with them, and even learned to salute), she said.
The soldiers didn’t think twice about what breed of dog he was, but his square head, cropped ears and short legs clearly would have placed him into the pit bull category.
When it was time to ship off for Europe, Stubby went along for the ride to Newport News, Va., and was smuggled by Conroy aboard the SS Minnesota. Upon discovery by Conroy’s commanding officer, the story goes, Stubby saluted him, and the commanding officer was so impressed that he allowed Stubby to remain with the troops, where he stayed for 18 months. Stubby entered combat on Feb. 5, 1918, at Chemin des Dames and went on to participate in four offensives and 17 battles.
It’s compelling stuff, all the more so when you consider the public image of pit bulls today.