A Note to Damien Lewis: Background information when reading The Dog Who Could Fly

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The Dog Who Could Fly

The Incredible True Story of a WWII Airman and the Four-Legged Hero Who Flew At His Side

by Damien Lewis

The Dog Who Could Fly by Damien Lewis
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2014, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2015, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rory L. Aronsky

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
A Note to Damien Lewis

Print Review

The world could use a lot more of your stories of miraculous dogs of war. Below, you'll find two other dogs, equally as brave as Antis in The Dog Who Could Fly, who I hope will spark your interest. The sooner, the better.

Sallie Ann JarrettFirst, there is Sallie Ann Jarrett, believed to be a bulldog or bull terrier, taken in by the Eleventh Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers in May 1861. She was named after Colonel P. Jarrett, commander of the company, and became their mascot for the Civil War.

She learned the drum rolls and bugle calls of the company and was present at drills and marches. Even after she gave birth to nine pups on March 7, 1862, she nursed them only in between military gatherings. On the battlefield, she stood guard over fallen soldiers and licked the hands of those who were still alive. But on the night of February 5, 1865, Sallie kept the men in her tent awake with mournful crying. The next morning, the regiment went into battle at Petersburg, Virginia, a vicious fight that killed a sergeant, one of the privates, and Sallie. She became memorialized on a monument in Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Second, in July 1917, the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut was not only host to basic training for Camp Yale, the soldiers of the 102nd Infantry in the 26th "Yankee" Division, but also a short brindle bull terrier mutt, who wandered onto the field. All of the troops got to know this dog, but 25-year-old J. Robert Conroy had the closest bond with him. Soon, he adopted him and named him Stubby. But when he prepared to ship out with his Infantry, he had the problem of what to do with Stubby because the U.S. military forbade dogs. Conroy had kept the dog well hidden during his three months of training, so after the troops traveled by train to Newport News, Virginia, Conroy hid Stubby in his Army greatcoat before boarding the SS Minnesota to France. Officers did find him aboard the ship, but it is said they couldn't resist Stubby when the dog lifted his right paw in salute.

StubbyStubby stayed with the 102nd Infantry through the war, even saving them from a gas attack in February 1918. Stubby smelled the gas, and ran up and down the trenches, barking constantly and biting soldiers in order to wake them. On April 5, he was made a Private first class. Later, in the Forest of Argonne in France, Stubby spotted a lost German soldier hiding in the bushes and dragged the soldier back to the 102nd. He was received by President Woodrow Wilson, while waiting in France to go home after the war ended, and on July 6, 1921, at a ceremony honoring veterans of the 102nd, General John J. Pershing pinned an engraved solid gold medal on Stubby's uniform in recognition of his valiant service to his country. He was also received by President Warren G. Harding at the White House, and Harding's successor, Calvin Coolidge, met Stubby three times as well.

Stubby died in 1926, but is still among us, as a taxidermied exhibit at the Smithsonian, along with a carrier pigeon named Cher Ami, who also served with distinction in World War I.

Image of Sallie Ann Jarrett's memorial courtesy of www.dogpress.com
Image of Sergeant Stubby courtesy of Masterdeis

Article by Rory L. Aronsky

This article was originally published in July 2014, and has been updated for the July 2015 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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