The Most Decorated Dog In History

The Most Decorated Dog In History by Isabel George Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: The Most Decorated Dog In History by Isabel George Read Free Book Online
Authors: Isabel George
President could no longer hold fast to neutrality as a defence. He called for war and on 6 April 1917, the US Congress declared the country’s entry into the Great War.
    Although America had not officially participated in the war from its declaration in 1914, many US citizens had joined the war effort in the only ways open to them: they could join a British regiment if they had the appropriate family connections or they could sign up with the French Foreign Legion and use that route to fight with the Allied Forces. The drive to join up increased throughout 1916 and James Robert Conroy was as enthusiastic as the next man to be part of a great victory in Europe and he joined the 26th ‘Yankee’ Division as they set up their encampment and started their training in the vicinity of the Yale Bowl.
    When basic training permitted, the recruits were allowed into town in the evening to unwind and have some fun and it was then the young Private Conroy noticed a yellowish dog begging for attention and food. The dog did not have the look of a scared and downtrodden street dog. He was different. Certainly not handsome but obviously full of spirit and character, the dog was mostly American Bull Terrier with maybe a strain of Bulldog thrown in. He had the breed’s determined, jutting jaw and proportionately small, pointed ears. His stout, solid body was covered in short bristled hair which was the shade of wet sand.
    Yes, he was a little shabby but he was proud and carried himself well. He had the bearing of an aristocrat who had temporarily fallen on hard times.
    ‘Hey, Conroy. Do you see that dog over there?’ a fellow recruit said. ‘Have you noticed it’s been following you?’ The young army volunteer had noticed the dog out of the corner of his eye and it seemed that as soon as the soldier appeared the dog did too. In the town, on the sports field or during training at some point, he would be there. Conroy found himself looking out for the dog and sooner or later he always turned up. The dog knew where to find the man and one afternoon he decided he would come and wait for him at the main gates to the camp. Everyone who saw him sitting there so patiently guessed he was waiting for Conroy and sure enough, when the soldier appeared, the dog gave him a crazy welcome. It was the first defining moment in their relationship.
    For Conroy, just the sight of the dog sitting waiting for him was enough to prompt a big decision. He was going to adopt the sandy dog, there and then and take him into the camp. It was a bold thing to do as he knew pets were not allowed on site and he had no idea how much longer they would be there before being shipped overseas. He didn’t know if he would be allowed to keep his new friend but he was going to try. He smuggled the dog into the barracks where he made a bed for him under his own bunk. Finding a name for a dog with a stubby tail was easy. Stubby had arrived and Stubby was there to stay. All Conroy had to do was keep him safe and, for the moment, that meant keeping him hidden.
    It was lucky for Conroy that his sergeant was a dog lover and intelligent enough to see that Stubby was a huge morale boost to the men. He was furious when he discovered that the dog’s name had been added to the regimental strength but soon realized that it was not worth admonishing the men for doing all they could to protect their unofficial mascot. Instead, the sergeant decided to turn a blind eye to Stubby’s presence and so it was that the mascot dog joined the men in everything they did, including full combat training.
    Stubby was exposed to the deafening clout of ammunition and exploding shells. He learnt to drop down and crawl along, his stomach brushing on the ground, as the men did the same beside him. The more he heard the high-pitched whining of the shells, the quicker his reactions became. He was never scared and never ran from Conroy’s side, no matter how loud the battle noise. He very quickly developed a

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