"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Friday, August 1, 2014

Stubby the War Dog by Ann Bausum

Stubby the War Dog: the True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog by Ann Bausum, 2014.

Animal lovers will welcome this heartfelt non-fiction title about a loyal dog . Stubby was an amazing canine hero during World War I.  A mixed breed stray, he adopted soldier James Robert Conroy when enlisted men were training on Yale University's athletic grounds. He watched the men as they drilled and he learned how to march in formation and salute, and soon he became the mascot for Conroy's Unit. Smuggled aboard a ship to France, Stubby then participated in 17 battles, keeping close to his buddy Conroy.  He killed vermin in the trenches, warned the doughboys when a gas attack was coming, helped to find wounded on the battlefield, and more. One of his greatest acts was  capturing a German soldier and holding him by the pants until help arrived. The gallant dog survived severe wounding by schrapnel and poison gas and returned to duty each time. Through all of his service he remained Conroy's best friend.

After the war until the end of his days, the wonderful Stubby was honored and led an exciting life. His special uniform was decorated with many medals and he earned three bones a day and a place to sleep at the YMCA. He and his pal Conroy marched in parades, performed vaudeville and promoted the American Humane Society. Stubby & Conroy also met presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. The outstanding dog was always loved and cared for by his friend. Conroy made sure that Stubby would be remembered by donating his memorabila to the Smithsonian Museum.

Bausum's book is a fine read for history lovers, as she skillfully tells the dog's story and gives a view of  the Great War and the life of the American fighting men. The Foreword is written by Conroy's grandson, who shares his memories of his grandfather and his bond with Stubby. The book is full of photos of Stubby, Conroy and military life in the teens. A timeline and bibliography is included.

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