Skip to Content

The story of Sgt. Stubby, the iconic dog who caught an enemy spy in World War 1

Honor, personal courage, selflessness, and loyalty are just some of the qualities of a good soldier.  Most of the time, soldiers are looked up to because of their exceptional courage and incredible selflessness; they risk their own lives to serve the country, they sacrifice their own happiness for others to achieve theirs.

All of these were shown by an outstanding, one-of-a-kind sergeant that’s a bit different from other soldiers — a brindle bull terrier. Sergeant Stubby served for 18 months in the military, he has bravely fought along other soldiers in 17 battles during World War I. Just like other brave-hearted men who fight for their country, Sgt. Stubby wasn’t born a soldier.

It all started when Stubby was found roaming within the grounds of Yale University in Connecticut, in June 1917. The 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division does their drill practices within the Yale University campus and they came across Stubby frequently.

Corporal Robert Conroy was among the soldiers training in Yale University and he grew fond of Stubby. He became so close to the pup that when they were about to be deployed to France, he actually took Stubby with him and hid him.

When Cpl. Conroy’s superior discovered that Stubby was on the ship with them, it was said that Stubby saluted to the commanding officer as he has learned from the training in the university, and that was enough for the officer to let the dog stay.

Although Stubby wasn’t initially considered as a part of the unit, he was allowed to be with Cpl. Conroy during training. On February 1918, the soldiers were stationed in Chemin des Dames, France. The Germans launched attacks on the soldiers and it was then when Stubby first displayed his valuable skills as he warned the troops about the poison gas attacks. On 5th of April, 1918, Stubby was officially recognized as private first class; it was the dog’s first military rank.

Stubby proved to be crucial for the unit. He was a great deal of help. For an instance, because of his excellent hearing skills, he can warn the team beforehand if he hears any artillery shells approaching. The heroic dog has also helped in finding wounded soldiers.

This brave dog soldier also sustained wounds and injuries during the war. At one point he was poisoned by mustard gas which nearly killed him, and he also had a leg injury from a hand grenade thrown by retreating Germans. Stubby was promoted to his rank as sergeant when he caught a German spy mapping out the layout of the Allied trenches. The dog bit the German and refused to let go until the American soldiers arrived.

After the war, Sgt. Stubby and Cpl. Conroy didn’t go home right away. And, on Chrismas day 1918, the dog soldier met with none other than President Woodrow Wilson in Mandres en Bassigny. And, on April 29, 1919, Sgt. Stubby and Cpl. Conroy finally went home. Back home, Sergeant Stubby was hailed as a hero. He led numerous parades and was awarded medals for his courageous deeds.

The dog also visited the White House twice and met with two more presidents — President Calvin Coolidge and President Warren G. Harding.

Among Sergeant Stubby’s prestigious awards received were from the Humane Society, the American Legion, and the American Red Cross.

Despite all the recognition he’s received, deep down, Sergeant Stubby remained to be one thing — a friend to Cpl. Conroy. When Cpl. Conroy went to Georgetown to study law, Sgt. Stubby still went with him.

In March 16, 1926, Sgt. Stubbby died in his sleep.

Pet, friend, soldier — Sgt. Stubby became all of those to his comrades, and became a hero for Americans. He became the headlines for many newspapers, the subject of books, and now, decades after his death, a movie inspired by his story will be released in 2018.

There are some people doubting the story of Sgt. Stubby, disbelieving that a dog would actually be promoted to being a sergeant. True or not, sergeant or pet, one thing remains true — Stubby has shown commendable qualities not every man can show, and not every man can live up to.

They even made an animated biopic of his life. Watch the trailer below:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.