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When 'man's best friend' is called to serve...



Hi gang - Gabriel here! 

On Saturday, April 1st, 2006 - I was fortunate enough to spend some time with a guy who is responsible for teaching many humans out there about the heroics of the War Dogs!  In his recently published book, "Buck's Heroes", Johnny Mayo touches the very heart of even the boldest of men.  In the book, Buck tells the stories of the War Dogs as they relate their own personal experiences to him on a visit to Washington DC.  It's a MUST READ!  And here's how YOU can get your own copy of Johnny's book: visit http://www.bucksheroes.com/tale.html

Oh, c'mon - you really didn't think I'd be lending you MY copy, did ya?

I'll be frank (well, I'll still be Gabe)...you just have to take the time to read all about Buck's Heroes!  Here the tales of so many heroic War Dogs who have proudly served our country and the men and women in our Armed Forces. 

These are stories you won't forget. 

You have my WOOF on it!

When Karen told us that the War Dog trailer was at the Pet Fling on that Sunday morning we arrived, it took everything in me to not act overly excited.  But truth be told - I had run across the War Dog stories some time ago, and have been captivated by these Canine Heroes ever since.  Now perhaps I would not only be able to visit their booth, but I MIGHT even be luck enough to meet Buck's best of friends - Johnny Mayo!

Well, luck was surely mine!  Right there - standing amidst the many caps, shirts and copies of 'Buck's Heroes' stood the man responsible for educating so many on the heroic acts of courage and determination displayed by these dogs!  Of course I put the idea into Christy's Hands to buy a book....and then a cap and a couple of T-shirts.  She was as moved by the War Dog stories listed already on our page as we were - and I could tell she shared my excitement over coming face to face with this remarkable Mr. Mayo!

I wanted to share with you - my fans - what I have learned about these Heros of Wars - these Canine Angels.  I wanted to start at the beginning - with Stubby.  I wanted to arrange a personal interview with Buck himself - and hoped that once I saw Johnny was at the Pet Fling - this chance would finally be mine.

But it wasn't meant to be.  At least the way I had hoped. 

Buck passed away on March 23rd - just less than a month ago. 

I hated to hear the news of his passing.  I was sure that John's heart was broken over losing such a wonderfully close friend.  But it was true - Buck was gone.  I never would have the opportunity to meet him - face to face. But I had at least met Johnny.  And he and I shared something mysterious from the very first time we met.  I know that he's a gentle person who deeply mourns the loss of a close pal - Buck.  Yet this loss didn't stop him from continuing Buck's dream - to get the word out...to educate the masses...to echo the stories of the Heroes - dead and alive.

The following is a portion of Johnny's note posted on the website in honor and memory of his friend - Buck.

*FROM JOHNNY MAYO (3-24-06)*

"Buck Celebrated His 15th Birthday March 18th with Dozens of Friends Hosted by an Animal Supply House in Columbia, SC.   It Was a Wonderful Day for Everyone Attending.  On March 23rd, As His Tired Body Lay Down One Last Time to Rest ...He Crossed Over and Joined His War Dog Buddies at the Rainbow Bridge."


"I will miss him...It was an honor to have been at his side."
Johnny Mayo
A Dog's Tale of Vietnam War DogsSynopsis
On a splendid fall day some thirty years after serving in Vietnam as a dog handler, Johnny Mayo attends a reunion of former handlers and their families at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. He brings with him, Buck, his pet husky of 10 years. Buck accompanies his master to the polished black granite memorial wherein are inscribed the names of the 58,178 men and women who were killed or missing in action. While gazing at the wall by his master's side, Buck begins hearing and seeing the ghosts of the dogs who were participants in the war. His master's two beloved scout dogs along with many others tell Buck what life was like for them and the soldiers they served and protected. Buck and his master leave the memorial with a renewed sense of camaraderie and closure.
Mail Orders for "Buck's Heroes" to:
Buck's Heroes / P.O. Box 5484
Columbia, SC 29250
The following is Johnny Mayo's reason for "Buck's Heroes", and why this story needs to be told and retold and told again...."Kelly" was one of 4,500 dogs that served the U.S. Military during the Viet Nam War. The Viet Nam War Dogs prevented over 10,000 Americans from becoming casualties. They saved the lives of our fathers, our sons, and our brothers. Sadly their reward at the end of the conflict was a lethal injection.

Buck's Heroes

"Kelly" was one of the 2,900 military dogs that were euthanized in 1971.
In "Buck's Heroes", Buck actually listens to the War Dogs tell their stories of their service.  Buck tells Tiger's story - Tiger and Kelly were partners to Johnny Mayo while in Vietnam.Buck:  "Tiger remembered the many times his handler (Mayo) had talked to him and asked his advice.  He always thought it curious that his handler asked the advice of a dog! "

Tiger:  "We were best buddies.  Our lives depended on one another.  Our handlers thought of us as family, closer than any human friend they had in the war.  I didn't see or smell the trip wire.  But I will never forget the sounds, smell, and the after effects it produced.  A tree blocked my path.  I thought the route around it to the left of the brushy limb was the best way to go.  All I remember about what happened next is the large explosion of dirt and brush and my body moving - by no control of my own.  After months of training for battle, this was only my second mission.  It would be my last."

Johhny Mayo's Website: http://www.celebratefreedomfoundation.org/k-9.htm

Buck's Tale of Heroes in Vietnam: http://www.bucksheroes.com/

A Dog's Tale of Vietnam War Dogs:  http://www.bucksheroes.com/tale.html

The History of War Dogs:  http://www.bucksheroes.com/history.html

Buck's Store: http://www.bucksheroes.com/store.html

other war dog information

CHIPS, THE WAR DOG (1990) Disney Movie Information http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099262/

ABOUT WAR DOGS:  7th Gr Social Studies Class  http://www.war-dogs.com/classroom_comments.htm

War does not determine who is right...only who is left. 

~Bertrand Russell~

  I want to thank Johnny Mayo for allowing me to post this story of Buck and the Heroic Canines who risked and lost their lives while serving in the military of the United States.  And I want to thank him also for his own service in Vietnam – he's a hero too - and one who is still making a difference!
Thanks, Johnny!
'Caeser' served as a messenger dog, with his handler during World War II.  Wounded during a Japanese attack, Caesar carries the scar of a bullet wound to his left shoulder.

"I recall a humorous moment involving Caesar. a big beautiful male German Shepard who was the obvious favorite of the troops. As I understand it the dogs had a regular Marine record book and all carried the rank of PFC."

"On about the 3rd day ashore word got around that Caesar had done such an outstanding job that Col. Shapley had given him a spot promotion to SGT. I saw Caesar come trotting down the muddy Piva trail. Ignoring everybody as he was trained to do. But as he passed our unit, you could hear these taunts from the ranks- ear banger," "brown nose," "ass kisser" and so forth. If it had any effect on Caesar, it sure didn't show."

Military Working Dogs have been used by the U.S. Military since WWI.  The dogs were originally enlisted by the Quartermaster Corps, and a
diversity of breeds where accepted.
Once knowledge and experience was gained the dogs of choice became the German shepherd Dog and the Doberman. Due to the nature of work to be accomplished the Labrador eventually replaced the Doberman.  The German shepherd remained the most frequently used dog. These dogs are commonly referred to as War Dogs; however, the correct term is Military Working Dogs. They have saved countless lives and casualties since the beginning of their Military Service and they continue to do so today.


By Colonel "Buck" Stidham. 2 Bn. http://www.uswardogs.org/id26.html


By Vincent Z. Whaley
Johnson City Press Staff Writer

(Published Thursday, Aug. 17, 1995)


Theyt called him "Hambone".  It was World War II.  Although he never participated in battle, he was granted a privilege many soldiers tried not to think about.

He was buried in his homeland.

Hambone was an infantry regiment's canine mascot, and his duty was to run alongside the soldiers, provide entertainment and keep their thoughts away from battle and pain and death.

During a recent trip to England to retrace the wartime steps of my late grandfather, Starlin H. Hughes, I came across the dog's grave in the quaint village of Alresford.

This is where my grandfather, who served with the 47th "Raiders" Infantry Division, 9th U.S. Infantry Division, had been stationed prior to the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, in 1944.

Hambone's grave, alongside a weathered path, was just one example of how America is remembered in a country that was once bombed nightly. For example: In Winchester, about eight miles from Alresford, I stopped an elderly lady treading the cobblestone street and asked for directions to the bus stop for Alresford. She was going to her dressmaker's shop to have her late husband's Royal World War II medals sewn to a shield. After kindly displaying the gallant war achievements, she directed me to the bus stop just across the street.

Here lies Hambone Jr.

Faithful Friend of the

47th. Infantry Regt.

9th. Div. U S Army

May 1944  

(This  grave marker of a WWII War Dog (Hambone Jr.)  is near Simon's parents home in  Alresford, Winchester, Hants, England along side a famous River walk called "The Dean." This town was used  for the  D-Day invasion.)

I met a gray-haired gentleman in an Alresford pub, the Swan Hotel - one of several pubs in which GIs of the 47th frequented during the war. After consuming a mid-morning pint of "bitter" beer, he escorted me through the town square in search of the building where the 47th had been headquartered.

We arrived at a white and navy building with a small, plaster plaque attached to its outer wall.
The inscription states:

The man then explained the legend of Hambone Jr. and supplied directions to his grave, which is located just beyond the village alonga rocky footpath beside the Alresford River.

A thatch-layered cottage outlined with pink and violet flowers sits along the river. A cobblestone bridge possessing arches that sink beneath the calm brook complements the fairy-tale dwelling. The grave of Hambone Jr. is not far from the moss-covered riverbank.

Along the opposite side of the footpath, the tombstone rests among thick vegetation. Weather-beaten and etched in algae, the monument clearly states,

Countless war memorials can be found across England during this final year of World War II's 50th anniversary. None, however, seem as classic as the one dedicated to a military mascot known as Hambone Jr.



So...what happens to War Dogs when the War is over?

HARTSDALE, CT: In times of war and crisis, dogs have come to the aid of humans for millennia; Assyrian temple carvings showing dogs leading warriors into battle date back as far as 1235 BC.  But what has only entered the public's mind recently is the question: What happens to war dogs after a war?

Now, before I tell, let's review a few interesting statistics and learn exactly what a war dog is.

In general, U.S. war dogs are used in the following capacities:

  • Sentry dogs are taught to accompany a military or civilian guard on patrol and give warning at the approach or presence of strangers.

  • Scout dogs are sentry dogs who are also specially trained to detect snipers, ambushes and other enemy forces.

  • Messenger dogs are especially loyal and motivated to work with two handlers, able to travel between them silently using natural cover to conceal themselves.

  • Mine dogs (called "M-dogs") find trip wires and booby traps as well as metallic and non-metallic mines and explosives.

Other nations certainly recognize the value of dogs as well.  In Russia during WWII, White Samoyed dogs were used to pull white-clad sharpshooters close to enemy lines.  In one sector of the front, a team of sled dogs carried 1,239 wounded men from the battlefield.  (Note: while dogs serve bravely in almost all nations, this article only touches upon those used by the United States, simply because data and statistics are readily available.)

In the Vietnam War, 281 dogs were officially listed as killed in action.  Almost all of the remaining thousands were euthanized after they had completed their service.  Until Nov. 6, 2000, the United States had no organized policy of finding homes for war dogs at the end of their useful working life, but that would change after Congrressman Roscoe G. Bartlett, (R-6th District, MD) introduced H.R. 5314 on behalf of "military working dog number W005", more familiarly known as "Robby."

To make a long story short, the bill was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, thanks to the outpour of public support, and now Robby's legacy is PUBLIC LAW 106-446, which promotes "the adoption of retired military working dogs by law enforcement agencies, former handlers of these dogs, and other persons capable of caring for these dogs."

Robby himself was euthanized at Lackland Air Force Base on Jan. 19, 2001 due to his failing health.  Although he never had a chance to lavish in the spoils of his own legacy, other war dogs may benefit in the years to come.  Robby's simple granite headstone at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery hardly expresses the magnitude of his great contribution. 

It reads: "Devoted Military Dog:
The Inspiration for the First War Dog Retirement Law."

Hartsdale Canine Cemetery

 located in Westchester, with nearly 70,000 animals interred, is the oldest pet cemetery in the country. 

"We don't know how many lives have been saved by these dogs, how many terrorists attempts have been prevented because bombs were sniffed out by dogs," said Gainer, a "Save Robby" organizer.  "The minimum we can do for anyone who gives his life in service of the country and saving human lives is to give them the opportunity to have a few restful years and burial."



To see a list of war dogs up for adoption, call 1-800-531-1066 or visit: .


~War Dog Memorials~


A noble Doberman pinscher represents hundreds of heroic war dogs that served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Although most were Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, Labrador retrievers and occasionally, a collie served during the war as sentries, messengers, and scouts. But they also served other roles to the Marines who served with them...devoted friend, confidant, trusted companion.

The War Dog Memorial, an exact replica of the official memorial in Guam, was donated to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine by Dr. Maurice Acree July 17, 1998. It honors not only the war dogs, but symbolizes the special connection people share with dogs.

Inscription reads:

"They protected us on the field of battle.
 They watch over our eternal rest.
    We are grateful."



America's first war dog, Stubby, served 18 months 'over there' and participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, located and comforted the wounded, and even once caught a German spy by the seat of his pants. Back home his exploits were front page news of every major newspaper.

Stubby was a bull terrier. One day he just appeared, when a bunch of soldiers were training at Yale Field in New Haven, Ct; he trotted in and out among the ranks as they drilled, stopping to make a friend here and a friend there, until pretty soon he was on chummy terms with the whole bunch.  One soldier though, in particular, developed a fonest for the dog, a Corporal Robert Conroy, who when it became time for the outfit to ship out, hid Stubby on board the troop ship.

So stowaway Stubby sailed for France, after that Cpl. Conroy became his accepted master.  It was at Chemin des Dames that Stubby saw his first action. The boom of artillery fire didn't faze him in least, and he soon learned to follow the men's example of ducking when the big ones started falling close. Naturally he didn't know why he was ducking, but it became a great game to see who could hit the dugout first. After a few days, Stubby won every time. He could hear the whine of shells long before the men.

It got so they'd watch him!

Then one night Stubby made doggy history. It was an unusally quiet night in the trenches. Some of the boys were catching cat naps in muddy dugouts, and Stubby was stretched out beside Conroy. Suddenly his big blunt head snapped up and his ears pricked alert. The movement woke Conroy, who looked at the dog sleepily just in time to see him sniff the air tentatively, utter a low growl, then spring to his feet, and go bounding from the dugout, around a corner out of sight. A few seconds later there was a sharp cry of pain and then the sound of a great scuffle outside. Conroy jumped from his bed, grabbed his rifle and went tearing out towards the direction of the noise.

A ludicrous sight met his eyes. Single-pawed, in a vigorous offensive from the rear, Stubby had captured a German spy, who'd been prowling through the trenches. The man was whirling desperately in an effort to shake off the snarling bundle of canine tooth and muscle that had attached itself to his differential. But Stubby was there to stay. It took only afew moments to capture the Hun and disarm him, but it required considerably more time to convince Stubby that his mission had been successfully carried out and that he should now release the beautiful hold he had on that nice, soft German bottom.

By the end of the war, Stubby was known not only to every regiment, division, and army, but to the whole AEF. Honors by the bale were heaped on his muscled shoulders. At Mandres en Bassigny he was introduced to President Woodrow Wilson, who "shook hands" with him. Medal and emblemed jackets were bestowed upon him for each deed of valor, plus a wound stripe for his grenade splinter. Not to be left out, the Marines even made him an honorary sergeant.

After the Armistice was signed, Stubby returned home with Conroy and his popularity seemed to grow even more. He became a nationally acclaimed hero, and eventually was received by presidents Harding and Coolidge. Even 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."

He was even made an honorary member of the American Red Cross, the American Legion and the YMCA, which issued him a lifetime membership card good for "three bones a day and a place to sleep."

It's said, that Stubby and afew of his friends were instrumental in inspiring the creation of the United States 'K-9 Corps' just in time for World War ll.

Stubby died on April 4th, 1926, and his remains were preserved with technical assistance from the Smithsonian Institution. Stubby, his medals and personal effects were donated to the Smithsonian by Conroy and can still be seen there.

He died in Conroy's arms. 

(READ MORE ON STUBBY: http://www.uswardogs.org/id16.html)


WWII WAR DOG HERO....'CHIPS'...  was donated by Edward J. Wren of Pleasantville, New York, was trained at Front Royal , Virginia in 1942, and was among the first dogs to be shipped overseas. He was assigned to the 3d Infantry Division and served with that unit in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. His assignments included sentry duty at the Roosevelt-Churchill conference in Casablanca in January 1943.

Although trained as a sentry dog, Chips was reported on one occasion by members of Company I, 30th Infantry Regiment, to have broken away from his handler and attacked a pillbox containing an enemy machine gun crew in Sicily. He seized one man and forced the entire crew to surrender. He was also credited by the units to which he was assigned as having been directly responsible for capture of numerous enemy by alerting to their presence. In recognition of his service Chips was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart, both were later revoked.

After the war Chips was assigned to a soldier who escorted him across the Atlantic and then to Fort Royal, Virginia, for discharge. First, Chips accompanied the soldier as he went through being discharged, and as a result they were late showing up at the "K-9" center in Virginia where a surly guard unceremoniously tried to turn them away. Glaring at the soldier and exercising his new civilian status, Chips escort shouted, "Pumpkin head, this is Chips, Mr. Chips to you." The Army quickly rolled out the red carpet, welcomed Chips home and saw to it that he was prepared for discharge.

A photograph taken shortly after his return shows him happily pulling his master's young son through the snow on a sled. But Chip's happiness was short-lived. He died seven months after coming home, according to the hospital, from complications from war injuries. He was only six years old when he was brought to The Peaceable Kingdom in Hartsdale.

In 1993 Disney produced a TV move about Chips called "Chips the War Dog".



Two Canines Honored

 K9 BEAGLE....'TROUBLE' is a proud member of the elite Beagle Brigade at Miami International Airport, Trouble and his partner Canine Officer Sherrie Ann Keblish are helping to safeguard America's agriculture resources by intercepting prohibited fruits, vegetables, meats and animal byproducts that could carry foreign pests or diseases that could be introduced into the United States.

Trouble and his partner recorded 115 notable interceptions and prevented a potential disaster for Florida's citrus industry by sniffing out a quince fruit, which was infested with 20 Ceratitis Capitata larva (Mediterranean fruit fly).

THE REAL...'GENTLE BEN'...: As part of the Delta Society program, Gentle Ben does his best work “behind bars.” At a juvenile detention center in Washington State, the 165-pound Newfoundland works with his partner Pat Dowell to assist youngsters, many of whom have been abused by their trusted human caregivers. Ben helps the youths learn confidence, trust, responsibility, patience and skills that can help them later in life.

At a local medical center, Ben visits patients in the pediatrics, rehabilitation, psychiatric and radiation oncology units. Ben’s gentle presence relieves stress in both kids with serious illness and their parents and puts smiles on lots of faces.



THE YEAR WAS 2002. DR. SAM BIERSTOCK (known as Dr Sam) had an encounter with a WWII Veteran and was so moved by that encounter that he wrote a song called: 'Before You Go'.  Please visit the URL below and read the story and the words to this touching ballad.  There is an option to listen to the song itself if your computer supports the option. 


Give in Someone's Honor or Memory

Remember the special spirit of an animal or person that touched your life or the lives of others by contributing to U. S. War Dogs Association.

Contact   U. S. War Dogs  at 609-747-9340 or canines@uswardogs.org to give a memorial or honor donation


Please mail your donations to:

 U. S. War Dog Memorial

c/o  Bucky Grimm, Treasurer

183 Cummings Ave.

Long Branch, New Jersey 07740



 FULL ACCOUNT OF WAR DOG STORIES AND MEMORIALS  http://www.uswardogs.org/id10.html

TO PURCHASE "BUCK'S HEROES" http://www.bucksheroes.com/tale.html 

(OR Order by Credit Card - Phone 803-767-6756)


Quartermaster War Dog Program http://www.qmfound.com/K-9.htm

Vietnam Dog Handler Association http://www.vdhaonline.org/


Rarely does anyone report about cats being heroes who save lives and warn people of danger. Yet we have received many stories over the years from people who have been fortunate to share their homes with courageous cats...



    Two of the stories here appear in the book of true horse stories, An Apple A Day, from Half Halt Press. VISIT http://www.halfhaltpress.com to learn more about it.


BY: Kate Petty

USPC Reviewer writes: Very nice book of horse stories for young reader. Loved the side bar information that is included. Uplifting and positive stories. Paperback.

To Order: http://shop.store.yahoo.com/uspcbooks/horhereyread.html



As you can see, there are lots of reasons to be proud of our..."animalness"!  We're each placed on this earth for a reason - usually for some special human.  We help them get through the days and nights.  We help them laugh when they're feeling down.  We cuddle up with them when they're lonenly or sad.  And we help 'clean up' whatever tid bits of food they tend to drop on the floor!

WE FIND THEM...we know they're right for us and we're right for them.  WE KNOW! 

So, to all you ANIMAL HEROES out there - Congratulations on a job well done!

And to all you HUMANS - we're glad we found you!

This has been GABRIEL ANDERSON reporting....

thank you