Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Reason #4267 Why I Love Dogs

Yesterday I spent some time reading about heroes. While reading about heroes in WW1 I came across the story of another hero. Yesterday wasn't the right time to share it, as our focus was on the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. But I think placing it as close as possible alongside is exactly where both sets of heroes would want it to be. After all, that's where dogs were created to be.

Jack -- War Hero 
Story from Dogs Home Battersea, UK
In the British War Museum is a small wooden stand to the memory of Airedale Jack, a hero of the Great War. Just a dog . . . but a hero who in 1918 saved a whole British battalion from being annihilated by the enemy.
 Airedale Jack was sent over to France as a messenger and guard. There was a big push on, and he was taken by the Sherwood Foresters to an advance post. The battle raged, and things went badly against the Foresters. The enemy sent across a terrific barrage, cutting off every line of communication with headquarters, four miles behind the lines. It was certain that the entire battalion would be wiped out unless reinforcements could be secured from headquarters, but how? It was impossible for any man to creep through the walls of death that surrounded them. 
But there was just one chance - Airedale Jack. 
Lieutenant Hunter slipped the vital message into the leather pouch attached to the dog's collar. A pat on the head and then simply: 'Good-bye Jack . . . Go back, boy'. The battalion watched Jack slip quietly away, keeping close to the ground and taking advantage of whatever cover there was, as he had been trained to do. The bombardment continued, and the shells fell all around him. 
A piece of shrapnel smashed the dog's lower jaw . . . but he carried on. Another missile tore open his tough, black and tan coat from shoulder to haunch - but on he went, slipping from shell-crater to trench. With his forepaw shattered, Jack had to drag his wounded body along the ground for the last three kilometres. There was the glaze of death in his eyes when he reached headquarters - but he had done a hero's work and saved the battalion.

Jack was presented with a posthumous Victoria Cross.

Thank God for these amazing creatures who give so much. Our Airedales don't seem to be as heroic. Mick got freaked by a coat hanger that fell in the tub, and Stevie hates thunderstorms. But I know that the same heroic sacrificial heart beats in each of them.

Go hug your dogs!

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