No one really knows when Stubby was born. Everyone's best guess is 1916. He was a street dog. Often described as an "uncertain breed", somewhere between a Boston Terrier, or American Bull Dog. He called the streets of New Haven, Connecticut home.
Being the highly intelligent dog that he was, he started hanging around the Yale University campus, and made friends with a group of soldiers training in the 102nd Infantry Regiment. One of these soldiers, a young private named Robert Conroy developed a sweet spot for the small dog. He is the one who named him "Stubby" for his size and tail. The group of soldiers even taught Stubby how to salute.
But what role could a dog have on a battle field? TONS! Because dogs have such acute hearing, Stubby could actually warn the men in the trenches when to duck and cover. He could hear the high pitched whistling of artillery shells coming before the soldiers. He also could find wounded soldiers in "no mans land" and help direct medics and others to their location. Also because of his custom gas mask, he could alert when there was an attack.
His biggest claim to fame (if the before wasn't enough), Stubby chased down a German spy during the Battles of the Meuse–Argonne. He chased, bit, and dragged the spy back to American lines. Thus, Stubby was rewarded the Iron Cross (taken from his prisoners uniform), and promoted to Sergeant.
By the end of his term at war, Sgt. Stubby had been made a custom jacket to hold all of his pins and medals, also including his two wound stripes. When all was said and done and the 102nd Regiment was heading home, yet again Robert Convoy packed up Sgt. Stubby and took him home.
After the war, Sgt. Stubby returned a hero. He marched, and led parades all over. He stayed the faithful companion of Robert Convoy. Following him to Georgetown University, and on to the FBI.
Sgt. Stubby died in his sleep, in March of 1926. He had an obituary printed in the New York Times. It was half a page long. He was then preserved, and placed in a mount. Robert presented this mount to the Smithsonian in 1956 where it is still on permanent display in the “Price of Freedom: Americans at War” exhibit.
As we take this day to remember those who fought for their lives, and ours. We should always try to remember that its not the size of the dog in a fight, its the size of the fight in the dog. Who would have thought, that one little Boston Terrier mix would have made such a huge impact on such a horrible time. He brought companionship to the men and women separated from their family. He risked his life to help those who chose to show him some kindness at a time when he was in need. This little dog was an amazing creature and should never be forgotten.
If any of you have CRAVE -- I suggest you take a look at the movie Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero. It's a kid friendly cartoon movie, telling Sgt. Stubby's story. While its more of the warm hearted version, by the end I was still in tears. Definitely worth a watch.