Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stubby: Terrier Hero of Georgetown

Georgetown University features a bulldog mascot on their hats and other memorabilia, but in fact the original dog, Stubby, was not a bulldog, but a cross between a boston terrier and a bull terrier.

Stubby, the mixed terrier, was one of the more famous dogs of World War I. He is reported to have trotted onto Yale Field in New Haven, Connecticut when a bunch of soldiers were drilling in preparation for the War. He may, in fact, have been a plant -- a companion dog brought by Corporal Robert Conroy, with whom he quickly became fast friends.

When the troops shipped out, Stubby was hidden on board by Conroy and went to France with the rest of the boys. At Chemin des Dames the soldiers noticed that the artillery fire didn't faze Stubby, but they taught the dog to duck down just the same. In a very little while they noticed the dog ducking before they did -- it turned out that the dog could hear the shells coming long before the men!

One dark night in the trenches, Stubby woke up while the men were sleeping, crept down the trench line and around a corner and found a German spy prowling the trenches in the dark. The soldier let out a howl when the dog bit him hard in the back thigh, and the dog did not let go even after the soldier had been disarmed by Stubby's friends -- they had to pry his jaws off the enemy soldier.

After this bit of service Stubby became famous, and honors were heaped on him by soldiers looking for a bit of humor and story to alleviate the boredom and carnage of trench warfare. At Mandres en Bassigny, Stubby was introduced to President Woodrow Wilson who "shook hands" with him. Stubby received a wound stripe for a grenade splinter he received, and the Marines even made him an honorary Sargent.

After the Armistice was signed, Stubby returned home with Conroy and his popularity seemed to grow. He became a nationally acclaimed hero, and eventually was received by presidents Harding and Coolidge. General John "Black Jack" Pershing, who commanded the American Expeditionary Forces during the war, presented Stubby with a gold medal made by the Humane Society and declared him to be a "hero of the highest caliber." Stubby toured the country leading war parades, and was made an honorary member of the American Red Cross and the American Legion. The YMCA issued him a lifetime membership card good for "three bones a day and a place to sleep."

In 1921, Robert Conroy headed to Georgetown law school and took Stubby along with him.

While at Georgetown Stubby served several terms as mascot to the football team where, between the halves, Stubby would nudge a football around the field, much to the delight of the crowd. Stubby was Georgetown's first canine mascot, and it is his ugly countenance that has somehow been morphed into the English Bulldog emblem of the Hoyas.

Old age finally caught up with Stubby on April 4th, 1926, and he died in Conroy's arms.

Stubby's stuffed body is one of the many artifacts kept by the Smithsonian museum in their vast collection.

This post is recycled from Veterans Day 2004.


Anonymous said...

Stubby sounds like a great dog, and he looks so brave and cute! Oh and one more thing, GO BULLDOGS!

Patrick said...

Where did you get that photo?! I've been looking for a good photo of Stubby for some time now, as the ones we use on the Wikipedia article are quite poor quality.

PBurns said...

Dunno where that pic came from. I went to Georgetown for grad school, and have a big hard drive. It was on there ;)


Patrick said...

Well if you do find out, let me know. I've already put it up on the article, but without a source for the image it'll get deleted eventually.

Simba said...

They could at least *try* to make an effort at accuracy, or a vague phenotypic similarity. Is the bulldog used just because it's familiar?

PBurns said...

The Georgetown "bulldog" is ridiculous, as is so much about the school. I say this as a graduate school alumnus. The bulldogs they use as mascots today (all named Jack) cannot breathe, cannot move, and stand on the sidelines gasping for air during games. It is truly pathetic. The main slogan of the schoool is "Saxa Hoya" which is pure gibberish -- a Greek word and a Latin word which, combined, mean nothing. The school itself is OK, but they definitely need to straighten out their branding!