Once generalized for use only to assist the blind, dogs have emerged into therapy and rescue professionals. At the same time, canines have established a solid reputation in law enforcement as they’ve spread to almost every police department in the U.S., adding a powerful weapon to sniff out drugs, explosives and bad guys. Now comes the movie explaining, in part, how a true-life canine became the most decorated war dog of World War I.
“Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” gallantly highlights the reasons why military working dogs are a force-multiplier on the battlefield. Unfazed by gunfire and close combat chaos, Stubby becomes the Division’s early warning detector of enemy German air attacks and approaching ambushes. As impressive as Stubby’s warfighting skills were, it’s his real-life journey to World War I and France, in 1918, that’s most amazing.
A bull terrier with a brindle pattern, Sgt. Stubby, discovers the 102nd Infantry Regiment, 26th (Yankee) Division training for deployment on the Yale University campus near New Haven, Connecticut, in 1917. Taken in by U.S. soldier Robert Conroy and his squad’s men and leadership, Stubby earns his stripes. Unwilling to stay behind as his boys leave for the war, Stubby shows his tenacity to overcome challenges—a trait that will serve him and the soldiers of Yankee Division well in wartime.
Stubby earned his battlefield promotion to Sergeant by saving hundreds of American and French lives. During his 18-month combat tour he participated in four offenses and 17 battles. His story needs to be known and shared. After years of celebrity status and meeting four U.S. presidents, Stubby died in 1926, earning one of the New York Times longest obituary columns in the newspaper’s history. In 1956, Stubby’s lauded story landed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., where his military achievements are honored inside the National Museum of American History section.
This animated film delivers an important and meaningful message on how dogs improve our lives. Yes, they work hard. But they can play even harder. Their natural abilities compliment humans in so many ways…making us happier, healthier, and safer.
Rated PG, the film’s battlefield scenes are closer to a G rating, and the movie focus throughout is on Sgt. Stubby and his accomplishments and relationships with the Yankee Division. Dog lovers and military historians will find this story heartfelt and remarkable.
Voices By Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter, Gerard Depardieu. Run time: One hour, 25 minutes.