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Watch: The Stray Dog Who Became The Most Decorated Animal in US Military History

dog and soldier
Silhouettes of soldier and dog on sunset background. Military service concept. Image via

No one wanted to send troops into WWI without preparation, luckily the soon-to-be most decorated animal in US Military history was in their mists! It was at the training grounds at Yale University where US soldiers met the stray dog, Stubby. Initially seen as a mascot by the soldiers, he would come to save many of their lives – and no one saw it coming! 

Just a Mascot

Soldier with military working dog, a German Shepherd showing its versatility as a breed. Image by serezniy via Deposit Photos
Soldier with a military working dog, a German Shepherd showing its versatility as a breed. Image by serezniy via Deposit Photos

The stray pitbull mix, just under a year old, started hanging around the training troops and quickly boosted their morale. Quickly becoming a welcome mascot. The troops played with them in their off time and fed him their scraps. Eventually, they named the dog that distracted them from their somber future, Stubby. 


Military dogs
Portrait of smiling soldier and military dog looking straight to the camera. Image by alex.wolf via

Private John Robert Conroy, a 25-year-old orphan, grew exceptionally close to Stubby and found a companion in the homeless pup. The only sad part was that soldiers were not allowed pets. Luckily the morale boost Stubby brought was noticed and he was allowed to stay – yay! However, Stubby took his role very seriously. He was there when the troops trained, stood in formation, and did drills. He even learned how to respond to their calls and drills. 

Off to War

Army Soldier with dog, Training dogs of war. Image by stoonn via

When the time came for the soldiers to depart for France, Conroy couldn’t bear leaving Stubby behind. Together with the other privates they smuggled Stubby on the ship with them and kept him hidden all the way to their base camp before being discovered. In a last-ditch effort to prevent Stubby from becoming a stray dog in France, Conroy showed his commanding officers how special the pup was. And it was agreed that he could stay on one condition, he had to stay with Conroy at all times. This is how Stubby found himself in the middle of the war. 

A Fellow Soldier

German shepherd
Cute german shepherd dog with military helmet lying on river bank. Image by belchonock via

In the trenches, Stubby was not only a companion, but he fought off the many rats coming for the soldiers’ rations. He also detected incoming artillery and mustard gas faster than his human comrades and barked warnings for them to take cover. Stubby jumped the barrier and found injured American soldiers in no man’s land, saving many lives. When an undetected enemy spy infiltrated their base, Stubby with no hesitation, attacked the spy and did not let go until the spy was captured. A very brave dog indeed. 

A True American Hero

military dog
Image by PEPPERSMINT via

Stubby proved his loyalty to his unit over and over, and the other soldiers even made him medals to celebrate his bravery. Being truly fearless earned Stubby the position as the first dog inducted into the military – as a sergeant! By the war’s end, Stubby had more medals than he could count, survived 17 battles, and even received a Purple Heart


Man in military uniform with German shepherd dog outdoors. Image by NewAfrica via

After the war, Conroy and Stubby attended law school where they lived a happy and relaxed life. Sergeant Stubby continued to make friends and continued to live as a symbol of freedom, hope, and patriotism. This tells the truly admirable story, of not only the heroic nature of this pup but also the importance of companionship in terrible times. 

Have A Look At The Video On Sergeant Stubby

YouTube video
The Stray Dog That Became The Most Decorated Animal In U.S. Military History. Source: Youtube, Uploaded: Did You Know?

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