Sassy Sue wows the bark park visitors with her catching and retrieving.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Price of Freedom: Stubby

The Price of Freedom: Stubby:

Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History


Catalog #: 58280M    Accession #: 210736
Credit: Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 22" H x 26" W x 11" D

Physical Description

Stuffed dog, blanket adorned with medals.

Specific History

While training for combat on the fields of Yale University in 1917, Private J. Robert Conroy found a brindle puppy with a short tail. He named him "Stubby", and soon the dog became the mascot of the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division. He learned the bugle calls, the drills, and even a modified dog salute as he put his right paw on his right eyebrow when a salute was executed by his fellow soldiers. Stubby had a positive effect on morale, and was allowed to remain in the camp, even though animals were forbidden. When the division shipped out for France aboard the SS Minnesota, Private Conroy smuggled Stubby aboard. Hidden in the coal bin until the ship was far at sea, Stubby was brought out on deck where the sailors were soon won over by the canine soldier. Stubby was once again smuggled off the ship and was soon discovered by Pvt. Conroy's commanding officer. The CO allowed Stubby to remain after Stubby gave him a salute. When the Yankee Division headed for the front lines in France, Stubby was given special orders allowing him to accompany the Division to the front lines as their official mascot. The 102nd Infantry reached the front lines on the 5 February 1918. Stubby soon became accustomed to the loud rifles and heavy artillery fire. His first battle injury occurred from gas exposure; he was taken to a nearby field hospital and nursed back to health. The injury left him sensitive to the tiniest trace of gas. When the Division was attacked in an early morning gas launch, most of the troops were asleep. Stubby recognized the gas and ran through the trench barking and biting at the soldiers, rousing them to sound the gas alarm, saving many from injury. Stubby also had a talent for locating wounded men between the trenches of the opposing armies; he would listen for the sound of English and then go to the location, barking until paramedics arrived or leading the lost soldiers back to the safety of the trenches. He even caught a German soldier mapping out the layout of the Allied trenches. The soldier called to Stubby, but he put his ears back and began to bark. As the German ran, Stubby bit him on the legs, causing the soldier to trip and fall. He continued to attack the man until the United States soldiers arrived. For capturing an enemy spy, Stubby was put in for a promotion to the rank of Sergeant by the commander of the 102nd Infantry. He became the first dog to be given rank in the United States Armed Forces. Later, Stubby was injured during a grenade attack, receiving a large amount of shrapnel in his chest and leg. He was rushed to a field hospital and later transferred to a Red Cross Recovery Hospital for additional surgery. When Stubby became well enough to move around at the hospital, he visited wounded soldiers, boosting their morale. By the end of the war, Stubby had served in 17 battles. He led the American troops in a pass and review parade and later visited with President Woodrow Wilson. He visited the White House twice and met Presidents Harding and Coolidge. Stubby was awarded many medals for his heroism, including a medal from the Humane Society which was presented by General John Pershing, the Commanding General of the United States Armies. He was awarded a membership in the American Legion and the Y.M.C.A. When his master, J. Robert Conroy, began studying law at Georgetown University, Stubby became the mascot of the Georgetown Hoyas. He died in 1926.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Saucy Squirrel Wins Peek-a-Boo with Sassy,
But Sassy Is Still Queen of the Dog Park

Our house is ideal for birds and squirrels to have a foothold and travel however they want. We even had a chipmunk sitting on the sill, stuffing his cheeks with sunflower seeds.

No squirrel will run when challenged at the window. They know the glass makes it impossible for them to be caught. They will startle but not move. The eating is too good to abandon their stations.

Sassy longs to chase squirrels and gets to try when we are outside. Inside, her constant watch out the window is often rewarded with woodland creatures coming by : foxes, deer, possums, birds, and squirrels.

This squirrel decided to taunt Sassy by poking his head in the window and disappearing. Sassy went into a frenzy of barking. Next the squirrel appeared at the top, upside-down and peering in. More barking and running in place on the bed, scratching to get out. Then the squirrel did another quick peek from a new angle.

Sassy gave out a wounded cry, completely insulted by this behavior. Instead of watching for more, she turned her backside toward the window and looked deeply offended.

Sassy remains the queen of the dog park. She is justifiably famous for her ability to leap up for the ball on three legs and bring it back to me.

She is so aware of audiences now that she watches the pathway for an audience. Sometimes I add sound effects to get the attention of potential fans, who are too busy talking to each other or worrying about the future.. Sassy loves bringing me the ball, but she has a special smile when people are giving her applause and extra attention. I wonder if she is showing me off or I am showing her off.

Everyone loves her coloring and her soft fur. One man came up to me and shook my hand, just because we rescued her. Sassy has given us many times more than we have given her, so we think it is a privilege to have such an intelligent, gentle, loving pet. We have to laugh that she wants to be petted by two people at once, with both of us talking about her.

Now we realize how much the German Shepherd in her wants to give and receive love. But her vocals are mostly Cattle Dog. She has so many sounds, from mewing to clicking and howling, that we can have a conversation about anything. Sometimes we sing the Cattle Dog Blues, where I make up new words and she howls mournfully.

When she sleeps, her back leg (there is only one) stretches across one of us. Sometimes the paw is extended to Chris' face, just touching it.

The funniest use of her paws is her touching of my face. The claws are long and sharp, so she has learned not to poke too rapidly. Sassy sits on the bed, when my head is on the pillow, and slowly reaches down to touch my chin with the tip of her front paw. If I yell "Ow!" she does it again, in super-slow motion, with a devilish grin on her face.

She still grabs my right arm and keeps me from using the mouse when it is time to pet her. One solution is using the mouse with my left hand. Then she reaches across to stop that hand too. The funniest tactic is to see her use her head to boost my hand and house off the desk, making a face like it is hard work, but grinning at the same time. Sassy is a clown, a performer, and a master manipulator.

Sassy loves her two Sheltie sisters. Precious plays tag with her, running inside and outside the house. The universal sign of dogs wanting to play is the bow, followed by a quick dart away. Sassy tried that on Precious last night, but Precious answered by walking into the closet for bed.

Sassy is jealous of too much attention given to Treasure. If I talk too long to Treasure, Sassy begins to bark in pain. I have seen Sassy slamming her front paw on the bed to get attention away from Treasure. At other times she makes a clopping sound with her jaws.

The fourth leg is hardly missed as she leaps for her ball.
Children adore Sassy and ask to toss her ball in the air.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dog tracks down ailing owner at hospital - New York News | NYC Breaking News

Dog tracks down ailing owner at hospital - New York News | NYC Breaking News:


Zander, a husky, was so upset when his owner was hospitalized the pooch tracked him down and paid him a visit.

John Dolan was hospitalized with a skin condition last week. His wife says their dog Zander took it hard. She says the dog sulked and even cried.

Then zander, seemingly decided he had to be by his owner's bedside. Zander broke out of the Bay Shore home and made his way to the Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center more than 2 miles away.

The four-legged friend likely went under the Robert Moses Parkway and across a busy four-lane road to get there. A hospital employee found the dog on the street outside of building where Dolan was being treated.

The Dolans got the 7-year-old husky from a shelter and nursed him back from starvation five years ago. Dolan says the dog has been like a son ever since.

The couple believes Zander traced john's scent to the hospital. A few days later Zander tried a second visit. He was found on his walk there.

The Dolans say this proves shelter dogs can be fantastic dogs and care for their owners as well as the owners care for the dogs.

Read more:

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sassy Sue - Still Queen of the Dog Park

I was able to catch Sassy in the middle of her grab-the-mouse routine. When she wants me to stop working, she reaches over and drags her paw across my arm. She turns her ears back to show that she means business. 

Sassy will do this several times in a row, until I stop and pet her. She also puts her mouth around my fingers on the mouse, making it impossible to work, mostly because I am laughing. If I laugh, she laughs too. Mine is surrender-laughing. Hers is victory-laughing.

Everyone sees the mischief and love in her face.

The next photo shows Sassy in possession of the wireless mouse. She dragged it off the computer desk with her paw, but looked away from the flash.

This is when she rolls over for a tummy rub and hug. Apparently German Shepherds love to hug, because I have seen many photos of them pressed up against their owners. She does not have the serious look of the German Shepherd most of the time. She has a shy smile. Everyone loves her.

No dog can approach Sassy's skill at the dog park. She catches the wildest balls, thrown high in the air. She often snaps them out of the air while running up to catch them. Part of it is her estimation of where the ball will land by the way I throw it. That does not explain how she can be running full-speed away from me and meeting the ball at the right moment, often leaping up to reach it.

She loves to have people watching and clapping. There is an extra light in her eyes when she hears applause and "Ohhh!" She can drop it so it rolls to my foot, but she also flips it with her mouth to land in my hands. If she drops it nearby to show how independent she is, I clap my hands lightly and say, "In my hands." She picks it up and drops it into my hands.

Cattle Dogs are very quick and agile, eager to snag balls all day. Our late Cattle Dog snapped houseflies out of the air.That agility doubtless adds to Sassy's skill. I told one admirer, "She has the IQ of a German Shepherd and Cattle Dog combined."

Children all love Sassy, and she loves them. She is a bit too eager to kiss the little ones, but the bigger ones like to throw the ball for her.

Most dogs compete with Sassy to grab the magical orange ball, the one that earns all the applause and praise. Sassy has learned how to outsmart the cornerback wannabees.

Only one dog, Maggie, a black Lab, figured out the whole routine. We were there with Maggie one day - no other dog. Maggie saw how to plant herself and catch each high toss, but she alternated with Sassy and brought me the ball each time. Maggie added a quart of spit, a Labrador talent. She was so funny and pleased with herself that it was a special trip to the park. Both dogs realized they were teaming up, so they had great fun.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

All Things Bright and Beautiful.
Anglican Hymn.
Art by Norma Boeckler

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flow’r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's Day Message about Rescue Dogs

Photoshop by Norma Boeckler

GJ - I am not sure whether Sassy is more German Shepherd or more heeler in personality. Both breeds are very smart. I missed Sacket so much, after she died of cancer, that we got Sassy. Sacky was  all-heeler and typically a shy, one-person dog. She slowly accepted Chris and was very loving toward her, but she did not welcome any stranger approaching her.

Heelers are super-smart, interactive, and independent. They are top dog, no matter what breed is around. Sassy yields to bigger dogs, even to her little Sheltie fur-sisters. However, she does rule the bed and barks when T-Girl gets an invitation to jump up.

German Shepherds look solemn but they are gentle, loving, and protective.

Here are some Sassy characteristics, which make her the star of the dog park:

She loves everybody and just wiggles with delight when people want to pet her.
She catches her ball in spectacular fashion, grabbing balls out of the air when a a man with a baseball glove would have trouble.
She saunters back with the ball when a crowd is gasping and applauding.
She can roll the ball to a stop at my feet or place it in my hands, depending.
If she likes someone, that person gets to throw her ball.
She asks to meet all the dogs in the next fenced-in area, so we often switch so she can make more friends.
She manages me so much that children look at me and say, "That is a bossy dog."

At home:
Sassy always has a front or back leg over Chris during jewelry time on the bed.
Sassy asks for hugs many times during the day.
One trick is to stop my writing by holding down my right arm.
She may knock the mouse away.
Switching to my left arm, away from her, does not work, because she reaches over for that one too.
When I laugh about her persistence, Sassy laughs and rolls over for a tummy rub.
Coming back from the dog park, Sassy listens to the latest stories about her.
She helps me with all my chores, supervising whatever I do.
As a heeler, she follows me and bumps me every few seconds, to make sure I know my place.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


By Norma Boeckler

Mammoth sunflowers are also called Russian and striped. These make great eating for humans after roasting in the oven, but birds and squirrels like them raw. They are one of the most nutritious products of the garden.

Most people use black oil sunflowers for bird food. The seeds can be planted, too, since they are least expensive in big bags.

I used to buy mammoth sunflower seeds in large packages from Harris Seeds. Larger packages are hard to resist.

This seed disk is not unusual. In New Ulm  I left the stalks up all winter so the birds could perch on them while winter foraging. They like to be just above the ground to look for food. The plant slowly rots into the soil. The decay feeds the soil creatures, especially earthworms, enriching and loosening the soil.

Flowers and Fibonacci Numbers
Long before the spirograph drawing toy, God created the same patterns in sunflower seed rows. The topic of Finonacci numbers is fascinating by itself.

This plant is only six feet tall but the seed disk is gigantic. The sunflower is a compound bloom, so each flower-let needs pollinating. The bees enjoy helping out, so there is quite a show to watch. The plant itself hosts plenty of visitors, so birds may land to feast on bugs chewing the leaves or hiding in the shade.

Sunflowers are often used as a temporary wall, an inexpensive way to provide privacy or shade. Unlike bamboo, sunflowers will not spread and occupy the entire lawn. Children like to hide in a fortress created with four walls of sunflowers.

Biggest sunflower disk contest:

Children like to see who can grow the biggest sunflower. Each plant needs plenty of space around it and as much sun as possible.

For extra growth, dig a hole first and fill it with compost, manure, or organic material. Put the best soil on top and plant the seed there. Once the plant begins, use dead grass, leaves, or newspaper to create mulch, which will hold in moisture, shade the root zone, and feed the soil creatures. Earthworms love newspaper roofs over their heads.

Sunflowers need plenty of water. They are as needy as corn and pumpkins. Their leaves will droop when they need more moisture. Water is the way they take up minerals from the soil, so that will give them more growth and bigger disks. Solar energy draws the moisture out while feeding the plant. Photosynthesis is a wonder we take for granted each day.