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Passing Parade:  “Stubby” dies; Dog gained fame in war

Nelson A. Pryor: Guest Columnist

That was the headline in the March 17, 1926 Washington Post, p. 24. The subhead was: “Mascot Went Through Four Major Battles and Was Wounded Once.”

Education can be one of adventure, and so it was for Stubby, the stray dog, who found his way to the campus at Yale University, in the summer of 1917. The dog, which was of the Boston Bull breed, was taken overseas, for the war, by the 102nd Infantry, a Yale unit, which had adopted him.   

The April 4, 1926 New York Times, p. 4xx, ran a half page story on Stubby. They said: “He was only a dog and unpedigreed at that, but he was the most famous mascot in the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Force).” Stubby took part in four major offensives, was wounded and gassed. He captured a German Spy and won more medals than any other soldier dog. He led the American Legion parades and was known to three Presidents. He was indisputably, a fighting dog. His Arlington was to be the Smithsonian Institution.

Yale Days

Early in life, Stubby longed for a career. Realizing the value of education, the brindle and white “bull terrier” abandoned his nomadic life for that of a student. Selecting Yale University as his alma mater, he was soon recognized there as a prodigy. His progress, however, was interrupted.


America entered the war, and the First Connecticut Regiment, later merged into the 102nd Infantry, Twenty-sixth Division, was ordered to Yale Field for training. Stubby just joined in.

One morning a bugle sounded the departure from camp. Crammed into a train loaded with equipment, he started south.

Corporal J. Robert Conroy

At Newport News, the soldiers were hustled aboard a transport. Here difficulties arose. Stubby was not on the roster. He had no enlistment card. The officers were stern and unknown to him.

Corporal J. Robert Conroy perceived his hangdog look and was touched. Wrapping him into the greatcoat slung on his arm and admonishing him to be quiet, he smuggled him up the gangway. Stubby lay still, with baited breath, until released into a coal bunker. Without diminishing allegiance to all his comrades, Stubby from that moment adopted Conroy as his master.

February 5, 1918

He was under fire, in France, night and day, for more than a month. He seemed to know that the greatest service he could render was comfort and cheerfulness.

When he left the front lines, it was to keep a wounded soldier company in the corner of a dugout or in the deserted section of a trench. If the suffering doughboy fell asleep, Stubby stayed awake to watch.


After the armistice, Stubby spent his time congratulating and being congratulated. Traversing the streets of Paris, he was recognized by hundreds of French, English, Australian and American soldiers. And then, he met President Woodrow Wilson, on Christmas Day.

He was mustered out on April 20, 1919, at Camp Devens, Ma., where he met then Governor, Calvin Coolidge.

While attending the American Legion conventions, in Kansas City in 1921, and Omaha, 1926, he was reacquainted with Coolidge as Governor, and then, as President.

On parade, Stubby always wore the embroidered chamois blanket presented to him by admiring Frenchwomen and decorated with service chevrons, medals, pins, buttons and a galaxy of souvenirs.

He then spent his time at Georgetown University, with Mr. Conroy.

Besides being painted by Charles Whipple, artist of the Capitol, Stubby had the distinction of being photographed with General John J. Pershing.

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