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Amazing, True Stories of WW1 Dogs via @PatFurstenberg #dogs #war #WW1 #truestory #history #LestWeForget

If you read my previous posts you surely discovered the incredible variety of tasks dogs performed, willingly, during the Great War. No matter their size or breed, dogs found a place in the hearts of the troops, saving a great deal of lives in between.

Dogs have been man’s best friend for over 150 000 years, they offered comfort during peaceful times and support during battles. We saw how indispensable dogs proved to be in wars and why, how they helped soldiers in the trenches, how they wagged their tails as scouts and ambulance dogs and how saved lives as brave sled dogs during the Great War.

Some dogs were just mascots, others acted as real soldiers.

WW1 True Story: Steif, a mixed-breed German dog, saves the life of his master, Lieutenant von Wieland

During the German campaign on the Eastern front, a lieutenant leading an attack fell under the heavy Russian fire. Heavily wounded and unable to move, he sent back his men. At the same time back in the trenches, the lieutenant’s own dog, a Great Dane – Mastiff – hound mix, had gnawed his leash to set himself free. Steif, the dog, dashed o his master’s side through the rain of bullets and, with love and determination, he pulled the severely wounded man to safety. The dog only lost his grip once, when a bullet “creased” him from shoulder to flank. Right at the end, when his master was safe, another bullet penetrated the dog’s front legs, braking them.

Steif and Lieutenant von Wieland
Steif and Lieutenant von Wieland

Man and dog were rushed to the hospital and were both operated on. Wilhelm II, the German Kaiser (emperor) and king of Prussia came to their hospital bed and awarded each, man and dog, an Iron Cross ( military decoration instituted in 1813 by Frederick William III).

This is their true story, as told to Kaiser Willem II:

“Lieutenant von Wieland led a party of men in an attack on the Russian trenches. Seeing the task hopeless on account of the Russian fire, he, wounded, sent back the men who had set out with him and lay there in the blood and muck and filth of the battlefield: The Russian fire was so murderous that no one dared bring him in. Presently a dark form bounded from the German trenches, rushed to Lieutenant von Wieland’s side, grasped his coat between his teeth and, foot by foot, dragged him to safety. Once, but only for a moment, did he loosen his hold, and that was when a bullet creased him from shoulder to flank. The blood gushed from the wound, but the dog took a fresh hold and finished his job at the edge of the trench where willing hands lifted the lieutenant down to safety. They had to lift the dog down, too, because just then a bullet broke both his forelegs.”

WW1 True Story: Messenger dog Satan helped the Allied forces

Battle of Verdun took place between German and French soldiers on the Western Front between February and December in 1916, and more than 300,000 men lost their lives.

A section of French soldiers, outgunned and outnumbered, were ordered to hold out their area until reinforcements arrived. Yet days passed.

Their eyes cats on no man’s land, expecting death to rush towards them at any moment, the soldiers were stunned to see a blackish dog wearing a gas mask heading their way. Dog handler Duvalle recognized his boy, Satan, arriving with a vital message.

Satan the dog saved a contingent of French soldiers at the Battle of Verdun
Satan the dog saved a contingent of French soldiers at the Battle of Verdun

That’s when the German’s spotted Satan and opened all available fire on him in a desperate attempt to stop the messenger.

Duvalle called and encouraged his dog, urging him to push forward and directing him over the open death trap that was the battlefield, reminding him what they both learned during their training. The dog began running in a zigzag pattern to avoid the impact of the bullets.

Just meters before the French trenches two bullets found Satan causing the brave canine to crash in the dirt. His master could not take it and sprang from the trench, calling and encouraging his brave companion. ‘Satan – have courage my friend. For France!’ – were his last words yet they echoed into the dog’s heart who miraculously crawled to the French trenches, delivering his message of hope:

‘For God’s sake hold on. We will relieve you tomorrow.’

The astounded French soldiers noticed that Satan had been fitted with two wire cages to his harness, each containing a messenger pigeon. Quickly, an officer penned the co-ordinates of the German artillery onto two pieces of paper. Luckily, one pigeon made it through the German fire and back to the French HQ.

Only one hour later the German battery fell silent, minced by the French guns a short distance away.

‘The garrison was able to hold out until reinforcements came all because one hairy mongrel refused to die while his errand was still uncompleted and because he was too loyal to quit.’  (Albert Peyson Terhune, American War Reporter)

WW1 True Story: Taki, first war dog to carry messages for the Allies in World War 1

Taki was a Belgian Sheepdog (Belgian Malinois).

If you wonder, this is the difference between a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois dog.
If you wonder, this is the difference between a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois dog.

It was 1914 and the German troops, on their way to occupy UK, were rolling through Belgium. A unit of French Army found itself stranded between a river and the Germans. They were desperate to send message and call for reinforcements. Who will dare brave the bullets?

Taki, the youngest of the trained dogs volunteered. Or was chosen.

Messenger dogs training.
Messenger dogs training.

 A message was written in code and placed into a waterproof capsule that Taki had been trained to carry in her mouth. She left and everyone prayed.

Taki successfully went through the shell-worn fields, under a rain of Nazi bullets and poisonous gas and, soon enough, help arrived.

Messenger dog with its handler, in France, during World War I
Messenger dog with its handler, in France, during World War I

I hope you enjoyed the blog posts about dogs and the incredible help they gave during WW1.

Come back for new stories about the role of dogs during WW2 and so forth.

Do check out my book Joyful Trouble, A humorous read about an incredible dog and how he had found his true, yet unexpected calling. It is a book for all ages.

Joyful Trouble, Amazon Bestseller in eBook and paperback format
Joyful Trouble, Amazon Bestseller in eBook and paperback format

My adult fiction book, Silent Heroes, is a #1 New Release, a contemporary fiction novel,  filled with action and emotional twists and turns. “Silent Heroes” has a strong historical and cultural feel of the area when the action takes place, Afghanistan.

Silent Heroes, When Love and Faith Are Worth Fighting for
Silent Heroes, When Love and Faith Are Worth Fighting for
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Joyful Trouble, Bestseller and Most Gifted Book on Amazon UK

Joyful Trouble is a Bestseller on both eBook and paperback format as well as a Hot New Release and No.1 Most Gifted in Africa for Young Adults on Amazon UK!

To celebrate this I am offering a few of my other children’s books for free.

Why don’t you visit my Amazon Author Page to choose some?

UK customers please click here.

US customers please click here.

Here are some of the amazing reviews Joyful Trouble received:

“Such a lovely book!
This heart – warming story is definitely about friendship and the strong bond that links men and dogs…and what a better “lens” to see the beauty of this friendship than a story told by a Grandfather to his sweet little grandchildren…!
But this story is most of all about the transforming power of love. Even the title talks about this: even though at the first sight the words “joy” and “trouble” are mutually exclusive, the situation changes under the magic touch of love….and becomes “joyful trouble”..
I definitely recommend this book for both children and adults: each generation will find its message and certainly feel better after reading this well told story!”

“I came across this little story which reminded me of home in Cape Town many years ago when my family and I visited Simon’s Town and posed next to a statue built in honour of a great friend – a large Great Dane. I loved the way Ms Furstenberg retells this naval story in the setting of a grandpa and his grandchildren spending time together and he relating Joyful Trouble’s story to them. I thought she did a marvellous job of this loveable dog’s passing – comparing it to the little boy’s kite – even I felt a tinge of sadness for this dog who touched so many lives. I highly recommend this story to be read even to younger children before going to bed, doing so in the same way the story is told – every time the little ones visit granddad, he tells them a little bit more. The chapters are just the right length for such a reading session. I’ve sent the link to my 10-year old granddaughter so that her mother can download a copy for her.”

This is a wonderful story which tells a wonderful tale about a military service dog whose efforts will warm your heart. As a dog lover and trainer, it never seems to surprise me how loyal and dedicated ordinary dogs are. They make such a wonderful impact in our lives. However, when these dogs are serving alongside our soldiers and sailors, defending our country, their heroic tales are more inspirational. I think the author tells this story very well. It is relatable and I’m sure many children will gain a lot from reading it. It is a great read for adults too!”

Very cute book that I read to my 7 year old daughter and she loved it. Fully recommend to any children, and not just dog loving children.”

A wonderfully skilled blend of fact and fiction, beautifully narrated, and really touches on the important things in life.”

Such a heartwarming, lovely story. Great for all ages. A cute twist on a true story. Like all of her books, you feel good when you read it.”

Such a well written and heart warming story for all children. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Captivating read from the first page!”

“A book written for all the senses : tactile information, kinaesthetic, auditive….a strong auctorial voice explains every situation, making it possible for the reader to live it as a film.”
“A delightful story narrated by Grandad about a mischievious fun loving dog who gained the friendship and respect of the Navy Seamen. Patricia brilliantly conveys the child-like innocence and wonderment of the children. The story will make you “awww” as well as “lol”. Parents will enjoy reading Joyful Trouble to their little ones.”
I have just finished reading “Joyful Trouble” and I loved it!
Really funny and excellent likeable characters, especially the little brother Tommy. A charming read for those of us who understand the joys and pains of owning dogs.
Well worth a read, you won’t be disappointed. :-)”
You can buy Joyful Trouble from Amazon UK here.
US customers, please get Joyful Trouble here.

Joyful Trouble, a book that reads like a movie
Joyful Trouble, a book that reads like a movie

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