Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog

Overview

Move over, Rin Tin Tin. Here comes Sgt. Stubby! That German shepherd star of the silver screen may have been born behind enemy lines during World War I, but Stubby, the stump-tailed  terrier, worked behind enemy lines, and gained military honors along the way. Private Robert Conroy casually adopted the orphan pup while attending basic training on the campus of Yale University in 1917. The Connecticut volunteer never imagined that his stray dog would become a war hero. He just liked the little guy. ...

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Overview

Move over, Rin Tin Tin. Here comes Sgt. Stubby! That German shepherd star of the silver screen may have been born behind enemy lines during World War I, but Stubby, the stump-tailed  terrier, worked behind enemy lines, and gained military honors along the way. Private Robert Conroy casually adopted the orphan pup while attending basic training on the campus of Yale University in 1917. The Connecticut volunteer never imagined that his stray dog would become a war hero. He just liked the little guy. When Conroy's unit shipped out for France, he smuggled his new friend aboard. By the time Stubby encountered Conroy's commanding officer, the dog had perfected his right-paw salute. Charmed, the CO awarded Stubby mascot status and sent him along with Conroy's unit to the Western Front. Stubby's brave deeds earned him a place in history and in the Smithsonian Institution where his stuffed body can still be seen. Almost 100 years later, Stubby's great deeds and brave heart make him an animal hero to fall in love with and treasure all over again.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/21/2014
American soldier J. Robert Conroy befriended a stray dog with a stumpy tail while training to fight overseas in WWI. They bonded so closely that Conroy smuggled him to Europe, where Stubby accompanied Conroy’s regiment on the Western Front, lending both his superior olfactory senses and amiable temperament to the war effort. Archival photographs show Stubby in candid moments with Conroy during the war and after returning to the U.S., where he received commendations and public attention. Through the story of this scrappy canine soldier, Bausum supplies an appealing entry point into the study of WWI. Conroy’s granddaughter provides an introductory note, and a timeline and research notes are included. Ages 10–up. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-17
In a story that reads like fiction, a remarkable bond between a soldier and his dog provides a unique look at World War I. Stubby, a mixed-breed dog so named due to his stump of a tail, hung around the Army reservists training at Yale in 1917. Many of them reacted favorably to the dog, but none more than James Robert Conroy, who smuggled the animal onto the ship to France. Stubby even managed to charm the commanding officer, who allowed the dog to stay, not the last to fall under his spell. He became a working dog, hunting rats that plagued the trenches, among other duties. He even suffered an injury that necessitated a stint in the Army hospital—where he went to work boosting patients' morale. Once back in action, he proved invaluable in finding enemy wounded and managing prisoners of war. He was even credited with capturing a German soldier. At war's end, Stubby returned home with Conroy with honors, no longer a stowaway. Bausum successfully weaves Stubby's astonishing story together with information about the war and reveals how connections between people and animals brought an element of humanity into the difficulties of war. Conroy maintained a scrapbook about Stubby, so the text is enlivened with period photographs, including those of Stubby in his uniform. Dog lovers and budding military historians alike should find this canine perspective on the Great War an absorbing read. (timeline, research notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
From the Publisher
"Through the story of this scrappy canine soldier, Bausum supplies an appealing entry point into the study of WWI." —Publishers Weekly

"Well-written, impeccably researched, and illustrated with dozens of archival photographs and ephemera, this book is a first choice for teachers and parents." —Asheville Citizen-Times 

Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
In a Foreword written by the grandson of J. Robert Conroy, who oversaw Stubby’s military career, the stump-tailed terrier is described as “a four-footed soldier, a scout, a mascot, a comrade-in-arms, and a best friend.” This introduction leads into the true story of World War I’s bravest dog. The terrier started his army career as a mascot for Conroy’s 102nd Infantry Regiment, and he advanced to the status of a military service dog. When the war in Europe ended, President Woodrow Wilson visited the U.S. service members in France, and he shook “hands” with Stubby. Five chapters discuss Sgt. Stubby’s military participation at home and “over there” in Europe. The Afterword describes how the New York Times and Washington Post both ran obituaries when Stubby died. Conroy subsequently gave the Smithsonian his treasured scrapbook about Stubby’s life. In 2004, Stubby was put on permanent display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History at the Price of Freedom exhibit. A timeline chronicles events in the Conroy family as well as World War I. Sepia-colored photographs complement the text. A “Resource Guide” provides excellent references for further research. An index provides easy navigation through the book. This story is an excellent reference about World War I for school libraries and an engaging supplement in the history curriculum for classroom discussions about WW I. Young readers will be fascinated to learn about this hero dog. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith; Ages 9 to 12.
School Library Journal
★ 04/01/2014
Gr 4–7—Stubby, a terrier of unknown origin, found his way to the training grounds in New Haven, CT, as recruits were preparing to ship off to battle in Europe at the height of World War I. Dogs have had a special place beside their human companions throughout history, and Stubby is no different. He attached himself to J. Robert Conroy, one of the recruits, and they became an inseparable team for the rest of Stubby's life. Smuggled aboard a naval ship with the young soldiers, the dog lived the life of any soldier: sleeping in trenches, dodging bullets in the heat of battle, and ferreting out enemy combatants when he could. Sargent Stubby's heartwarming and inspiring story touched many lives, from fellow soldiers needing comfort to local villagers who made special clothing for him and many a skeptical officer in between. Bausum manages to weave in the general details of the last few years of World War I, providing some historical context and adding a bit of suspense and drama. Stubby's fame only grew after the war ended and the two friends came home and traveled the country, marching in parades and posing for pictures. While many details are lost to history, newspaper clippings, a scrapbook kept by Conroy, and mentions in interviews provide enough information to piece together a moving, thoughtful dog story. Period photographs of the war front in general and a few of Stubby specifically, sprinkled throughout this relatively short narrative, make this a choice offering for dog lovers and history buffs alike.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426314865
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 5/13/2014
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 116,920
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

ANN BAUSUM writes about U.S. history for young people, and she has published eight titles with National Geographic Children's Books including, most recently, Marching to the Mountaintop (2012) and Unraveling Freedom (2010). Ann's books consistently earn prominent national recognition.Denied, Detained, Deported (2009) was named the 2010 Carter G. Woodson Book Award winner at the secondary school level from the National Council for the Social Studies. Muckrakers (2007) earned the Golden Kite Award as best nonfiction book of the year from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Freedom Riders (2006) gained Sibert Honor designation from the American Library Association and With Courage and Cloth (2004) received the Jane Addams Children's Book Award as the year's best book on social justice issues for older readers. In addition, Ann has written about the nation's chief executives and their spouses — Our Country's Presidents (2013, 4th edition) and Our Country's First Ladies (2007) — as well as the intrepid explorer Roy Chapman Andrews (Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs, 2000).

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