Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sgt. Stubby

Revised: July 10, 2015; 19:09 GMT

But back to Stubby, a stray Pit Bull from Hartford, Conn., smuggled by a soldier onto a ship bound for France. Stubby started out as a mascot, the main role dogs played in the Great War, providing companionship and boosting morale for U.S. troops.
Stubby went from mascot to war hero somewhat instinctually. He warned a group of sleeping soldiers of an impending gas attack, giving them enough time to put on their masks. He once acted as a sentry for the soldiers he was with, standing guard and biting a German infiltrator, detaining him long enough for soldiers to capture him. And he was wounded by shrapnel, but continued on with the 102nd, surviving several battles, according to Michael G. Lemish, a war dog historian and author.
The above excerpt is from an article by Sarah Kershaw published in the Washington Post on July 3, 2015. The article, a moving tribute to war dogs, includes a glaring error that could have been avoided with a few minutes of research. The comment copied below is one of several reader comments which corrected Ms Kershaw's error:

Merritt Clifton
7/3/2015 2:59 PM PDT
Sergeant Stubby was introduced to the world by the Boston Globe on April 8, 1919, about halfway through an article entitled “Heroes Aplenty On Agamemnon,” profiling the soldiers and animals aboard a recently landed troop transport ship. “The reporter was just taking down the names of some of the men,” the anonymous author recounted, “when from the dock came a faint, small sound. There, sniffing inquiringly at the reporter, was a small but unmistakeable bulldog…The small ‘bull’ can justly be called a Yale bulldog," i.e. Boston terrier--much smaller than a pit bull. "Corporal J.R. Conroy of New Britain, Connecticut is the dog’s official keeper," the Boston Globe account continued. "He explained that Stubby was adopted by the old 1st Connecticut Regiment when it was training at Yale field. When the regiment was merged into the 102nd, Stubby went along. Corporal Conroy and the rest of the company managed to smuggle him on board the ship which took them overseas. Stubby has been with the men ever since. He was wounded during the Seicheprey fight, and wears every conceivable sort of decoration on his blanket. He took part in the fight at Marchville, Corporal Conroy being regimental observer on that occasion, and the company believes that he alone held at least one German division at the time.” From that jocular claim, the Stubby myth expanded with every retelling. His remains, taxidermically mounted and displayed at the Smithsonian, are unmistakably those of a Boston terrier.
Stephen Wood, age 6, with his Boston Terrier "Peggy"
Long Neck, LI, New York, 1940

Pit bull advocates have cultivated the belief that Sgt Stubby was a pit bull. Ms Kershaw's error was to believe the misinformation published by many pit bull advocacy websites. The misidentification of Sgt Stubby as a pit bull is only one of many fantastic deceptions circulated by advocates of fighting breeds.

We encourage the Boston Terrier Club of America (BTCA) to lodge a formal objection to the Washington Post, whose fact-checkers failed to note and correct Ms Kershaw's error. The BTCA should also write to the AKC, who must acknowledge that Sgt Stubby was indeed a Boston. Aficionados of the valiant little Boston Terrier breed must object to the repeated misidentification of one of their own, and reclaim their own little hero, Sgt Stubby, as a Boston Terrier.

"The Mayor" (Boston terrier) 1917,  by Harry Lyman

* * * * *
Here’s a short history of the American war dog starring ‘Sergeant Stubby,’ a canine hero who served during WWI
   July 3, 2015; by Sarah Kershaw, Washington Post

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