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Old 10-16-2015, 04:59 AM   #21
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Sergeant Stubby, American war hero dog, died in 1926, at the (approximate) age of ten. Nowadays his taxidermized corpse is featured with its own exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History, which is simultaneously creepy, awesome, and the sort of thing that every man and animal in the country should aspire to.






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Old 10-16-2015, 05:15 AM   #22
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Old 10-16-2015, 09:15 AM   #23
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Newfoundland dogs are renown for their friendliness, love of children and for their rescuing abilities. Since the breed was developed in Newfoundland over a hundred years ago, there have been many stories told of Newfoundlands saving passengers from sinking ships and rescuing children in trouble while playing in their favourite swimming holes. But there is one Newfoundland that showed bravery and loyalty beyond what is commonly credited to the breed. His name was Gander and he gave his life protecting Canadian and other Commonwealth soldiers on the beaches of Hong Kong Island during World War II.
In 1940, Gander was the family pet of Rod Hayden, a resident of the town of Gander in Newfoundland. The dog's name at that time was Pal. He was well known in the town, but often mistaken as a bear by pilots landing at the airport.



This gentle giant was loved by the neighbourhood children who used him to tow their sleds during winter. One day, while greeting a group of children, Pal's paw accidentally scratched the face of a six year old. Concerned that the dog might have to be "put down", Mr. Hayden gave Pal to the 1 st Battalion of the Royal Rifles of Canada as a mascot. His new owners called him Gander, after the military base they were responsible for protecting during the war.
Gander and the Royal Rifles were sent to Hong Kong Island in 1941 where they joined other Commonwealth troops to defend the island against attacks by the Japanese. During the Battle of the Lye Mun, Gander displayed great bravery protecting his "newfound" friends. When the Japanese landed near the Canadian section of the beach, Gander greeted the enemy with threatening barks and attempts at biting their legs. On another occasion as Japanese troops were nearing a group of wounded Canadian soldiers, Gander surprised the enemy by charging them. For some reason, the Japanese were unwilling to shoot the dog. Instead, they changed their route and the lives of the wounded soldiers were saved.

Gander showed his greatest and last act of bravery and loyalty during another Japanese attack. During the battle, an enemy grenade landed near a group of Canadian soldiers. Probably out of concern for his friends, Gander grabbed the grenade in his mouth and carried it to where it would do no harm. Unfortunately, the grenade exploded in Gander's mouth, killing him instantly. He had given his life saving the lives of the Canadian soldiers.



The story of Gander's bravery, once well-known and told many times by residents of his h town, was almost forgotten. In a conversation between Mrs. Eileen Elms, who knew the dog as Pal and whose sister had been scratched by the dog, and local historian Mr. Frank Tibbo, Gander's act of bravery was mentioned. Through their efforts, Gander's story was revived and his act of bravery recognized.

(Gander, the Newfoundland dog, was posthumously awarded the prestigious Dickin Medal, equivalent to the Victoria Cross given to soldiers of the British Commonwealth for their acts of bravery. Gander was awarded the medal in August, 2000 at a Hong Kong Veterans of Canada reunion in Fredericton, New Brunswick

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Old 10-16-2015, 09:21 AM   #24
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Bamse (which is Norwegian for cuddly bear or teddy bear -- take your pick), was a St. Bernard who belonged to the family of Erling Hafto, captain of Thorodd, a whaling vessel. A gentle giant weighing in at 14 stone (that's 196 lbs!), Bamse officially became a war dog when Captain Hafto's ship was drafted into the service of the Royal Norwegian Navy during the first years of WWII. By 1940, the ship, by that point a minesweeper, regularly docked in a town called Montrose, Scotland where Bamse quickly became a neighborhood fixture where he was oft seen making the rounds "decked out in a white sailor's collar and mariner's cap."

The stories about Bamse are some of the most delightful I've come across -- tales of how he would break up fights between the men by launching his large paws on the agitated sailor's shoulders to subdue him. Or, almost unbelievably, how this large dog would ride the local bus unaccompanied to a nearby pub and retrieve the drunken crew to lead them safely back to their ship.

More impressive still are the multiple occasions during which Bamse displayed life-saving heroics: Rescuing one man from an assailant wielding a knife, and leaping into the cold water to save another sailor, who had fallen in unbeknownst to the rest of the crew, keeping the man afloat until help arrived.

Bamse died from heart failure in July of 1944, apparently right there on the docks near his ship. A remarkable crowd gathered for his funeral in Montrose

Bamse's coffin draped with the Royal Norwegian flag with his sailor's cap perched on it was carried by six of the Thorodd's crew. Eight hundred children silently lined the way and shopkeepers, factory workers and housewives turned out with them. Local dignitaries and the crew of six Norwegian ships stood guard of honour. Bamse was buried in the sand-dunes on the banks of the South Esk River



Bamse's life and legend is lovingly documented by the Montrose Heritage Trust -- a group that operates a thorough website devoted entirely to Bamse, complete with a series on Bamse's adventures complete with testimonials from residents who remember well the days when this canine caretaker lumbered through the streets of Montrose.

Bamse was a truly remarkable dog that served throughout most of WWII on the same ship. He showed remarkable intelligence in looking after the crew in difficult circumstances, he displayed steadfast courage in action, defying danger, and he actually saved the lives of two of the crew. He moved from being a ship's mascot to being the mascot of all the free Norwegian forces. After his death his memory has endured as a symbol of the brave Norwgegian struggle against oppression, and as a mark of the close relationship between the Norwegain and Scottish peoples."


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Old 10-16-2015, 11:27 AM   #25
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Old 10-16-2015, 01:42 PM   #26
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Old 10-16-2015, 01:44 PM   #27
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