Here at Dudefest.com, we love dogs. They are man’s best friend, they chase stuff, sometimes they eat cat poop (which is hilarious), and they have been our Dudefest Dude of the Week in the past. This week, however, we have decided to focus on a specific pooch, hilariously named Sergeant Stubby.
Sergeant Stubby is notably the only dog to be nominated for rank and then promoted to sergeant through combat, a claim which means nothing to us because as a group we know significantly more about the fine-dining etiquette of the Game of Thrones nobility than the real-life US military structure. The claim is also unsubstantiated, but awesome, which is our favorite kind of fact here at Dudefest.com. (We’re a comedy site, not an encyclopedia.) Plus, the Smithsonian said it was true, and there’s no chance an organization like that would lie to us or censor itself under pressure, right?
Known for being just the cutest goddamn thing ever, Stubby was also a bona-fide World War I hero. In April 1918 while fighting for the good guys, Stubby was wounded by proto-Nazis who were retreating and throwing grenades (presumably like cowards). His injuries were minor, and while recovering, was able to improve the morale of his fellow injured soldiers by just being flat-out adorable all the time.
Do to his super-human hearing and sense of smell (because he was not a human), Sergeant Stubby was able to warn his fellow soldiers of incoming artillery and gas attacks. He was able to hear the high-pitched whine of the incoming ordnance before the rest of his unit, and would run around and bark to warn them.
Stubby was essentially unkillable, and surviving a poison gas attack taught him to recognize how that shit will fuck your lungs right up. He could smell the gas incoming before it had reached a concentration strong enough to harm his fellow soldiers and would run around and bark to warn them. We assume he either had very different styles of barking, or his entire unit would just duck for cover, don gas masks, and wet themselves whenever he made a noise. Hopefully there were no squirrels on World War I battlefields.
Stubby was more than just a living, breathing, pooping air raid siren: he also managed to capture a German soldier, biting him on the ass and refusing to let go until his American counterparts arrived to take the German prisoner. This story has been repeated many, many times in the century since it allegedly occurred, and while there is no proof that a dog (an animal commonly known to be colorblind) could differentiate between enemy combatants and allied soldiers, the internet would never lie to us so we are accepting it as true.
Stubby was beloved not only by his fellow troops, but also the locals of the French town Château-Thierry where he was “stationed”. The women of the town made a little vest to use as a uniform where Stubby displayed the many medals of bravery and stripes he had earned. Reports vary on whether or not he grew a beard as soon as he could, to cover the scars on his face. He did, however, always urge his men on.
Stubby survived the war and and was smuggled back into the US by a man named Robert Conroy. Conroy attended Georgetown University Law Center beginning in 1921, and he brought decorated war hero Stubby who quickly became the mascot of the school’s football team. Like most former soldiers, he was given the dignified role of pushing a football around the field with his nose at halftime.
Sadly, dogs don’t live forever (neither do people, but it’s a lot more sad when dogs die), and Stubby was no different. He died March 16, 1926, presumably of natural causes. In a memorial fitting of a hero, his skin was removed, mounted onto a plaster cast, and displayed at the Smithsonian. Which is like putting Lassie on display at the Louvre, or displaying Fry’s fossilized dog at the Museum of Natural History. Conroy gave Sergeant Stubby to the Smithsonian in 1956, which raises the question of what a grown man was doing with the taxidermified corpse of a war hero for thirty years.
Every year on March 16, the Dudefest dudes pour some of their 40 onto the ground to remember the most adorable, German-fightingest, German-bitingest combat dog there ever was.