Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A WW I Slobberdog Hero

During the first world war, in Paris, France, Rags was a stray slobberdog (I call all canines slobberdogs, because they slobber, you know).  He lived by dumpster diving (who hasn't among us four-legged outdoors explorers?), only the trash cans were smaller than today's dumpsters.  One dark night, purely by chance, he encountered an American soldier, Private (soon-to-become Sergeant) James Donovan, who stepped on the slobberdog's foot. A policeman happened along, and since Donovan was out after curfew, he had to think fast lest he be arrested.  So Donovan invented a story that the slobberdog was his division mascot who had wandered off-base.  Donovan had been searching for him.  The policeman was suspicious--the slobberdog looked like a ragged cur, he observed--but Donovan had a quick response:  "That's his very name!  Rags!"  So the policeman allowed them to return to base together.

Donovan was sent to the front, and Rags was allowed to accompany him. Donovan was a signalman--he laid telephone cable so the combat trenches could communicate with the rear artillery and command centers--and Rags became his inseparable partner.  Rags would run messages tied to his collar, keeping communications open when lines were down--an incredibly dangerous duty, given the munitions raining from the skies.  He warned of incoming artillery shells--he could hear the high-pitched whine before human soldiers could--and, by ducking down, his human comrades knew to hit the dirt, too.  He caught mice in the trenches and kept fellow soldiers in the U.S. Army First Division company.  He even saved Donovan by biting an enemy soldier's leg.

While on a dangerous mission, Donovan and Rags were injured by poison gas and an exploding shell.  What happened next you will discover when you read the children's picture book, Rags: Hero Dog of WW I (a True Story), written by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by Petra Brown.  Our book trailer elaborates.

MPL Book Trailer #210
Rags: Hero Dog of WW I (a True Story)
by Margot Theis Raven & Petra Brown

Rags lived to be 20 years old (1916-1936)--an incredibly old age for slobberdogs.  He was a decorated war hero honored in post-war parades. Tens of thousands of slobberdogs served in World War I, and many were heroes like Rags.  It is an inspiring story showing the bonds of loyalty, duty, and friendship between humans and slobberdogs.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

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