Airedale Terrier – Amazing War Dogs
Recently I attended a WW1 seminar where it was mentioned, just in passing, that Airedale Terriers were used in WW1 and were even considered to be war heroes. As a dog lover, this had me intrigued, and I planned to research into how they contributed to the war. But as usual, once I arrived home, there was too much research to be done, and too little time to do it.
As a result, the Airedales were put on the backburner.
Until today, when I met two awesome Airedale Terriers, and remembered that they were considered war heroes.
It seems that these brave dogs were indispensible in the war. As a very intelligent dog, they were highly trainable to do jobs that were very difficult and even impossible for humans. Along with being very brave, Airedales were found to be unstoppable and single minded. When given a job, they would see it through to its conclusion.
Airedales were taught to use gas masks for their protection. They would have baskets strapped to their back or packages around their necks to get supplies to the troops in the trenches on the front line.
Often first aid equipment was sent to the front line in this way, saving lives which otherwise would have been lost. The Red Cross delivered their first aid supplies to the troops in this way.
The Airedales were such a success in WW1 that they were still being trained as war dogs when WW2 started.
The following was on the BBC News website in an article about dogs of war. Just click on the link to read more. But the quote below encapsulates the total bravery and commitment of these dogs.
“There are countless tales of heroic service on the part of war dogs; one Airedale, named Jack, came to the rescue of his battalion when they found themselves totally cut off, surrounded by shell-holes and barbed wire – and needed to summon reinforcements.
“No man could get through the environment, and their one chance was Jack,” said Alastair Petrie, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army who has owned a number of Airedales.
“A piece of shrapnel smashed his jaw, but he carried on, and another shell tore open his coat right down his back, and he kept on going.
“Finally his forepaw was shattered, but he dragged his body for the last three kilometres.
“There was the glaze of death in his eyes when he reached headquarters, but he’d done his work – he’d saved his battalion.