This Week's Story

Stubby, a stray dog, is smuggled into France and serves as part of the U.S. Army's Yankee Division in World War I.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

STUBBY: The Four-legged Mascot and American Soldier, part two

A stray dog appeared by the sports stadium at Yale University. Where was his home? Who was his master? He was muscular, probably a Boston bull terrier. It was spring 1917 and men were training on the sports fields, getting ready to fight in World War I.

The dog followed the men, visited their camp tents, and knew where the mess kitchens were. It was easy to find food! Someone named him Stubby. He had special friends among the guys, but he picked one, James Robert Conroy, to be his master. Conroy was twenty-five years old and an enlisted man from Connecticut.

Stubby was clever. As the soldiers trained through the spring and summer, so did Stubby. Every time the camp bugle sounded a signal, he understood the signal, especially if it was a call to eat. He could march in formation with the men and obey marching commands. Someone taught Stubby to salute properly. He became the mascot for Conroy’s unit.

The time came for the men to join the war effort in Europe. In the spring the United States had been drawn into the war. Countries in

Europe had already been fighting for three years. When Conroy’s unit boarded trains for Virginia where they would board a ship, Stubby hopped onto the train. With help Conroy later smuggled his pal onto the ship and hid him until the ship was far from the shore.

When Stubby appeared among the men, life went on as normal. He played with the soldiers, ate plenty, and kept sentries company as they watched for enemy submarines.

When the ship reached the French port, Stubby was again hidden and carried off the ship. Soldiers reported that when Conroy’s commanding officer saw the dog, Stubby immediately sat down, reared back, raised his right paw, and saluted him. Stubby stayed with his soldiers and continued as mascot of Conroy’s unit.

Stubby and his master were with the headquarters company for the 102nd Infantry. They were foot soldiers, called doughboys. They were part of the United States Army’s Yankee Division. When Conroy took a furlough in France, Stubby went with him. When the 102nd Infantry Regiment headed for battle, the commander for Conroy’s regiment ordered Stubby to go as mascot for the entire regiment.

The regiment’s assignment was to keep German enemy troops from breaking through the French defenses and capturing the French capital of Paris. Stubby had work. He sat beside soldiers in networks of trenches and dugouts. He was alert and lovable, especially to men wearing a United States military uniform. As soldiers slept, he often kept watch. Other time he joined guards on duty. When artillery fire was incoming, Stubby could hear the incoming rounds before the humans could and barked alarm to soldiers.

Stubby was not the only dog with military units. All the nations in the war had trained highly-valued dogs. They pulled carts, helped locate wounded men, carried messages, delivered backpacks with messenger pigeons, guarded prisoners, and killed rats in dugouts and miles of trenches.

This is Barbara Steiner. Our conclusion is coming soon with surprises.

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