The Humane Society of the United States welcomes the release of Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, an animated feature film based on the true story of a World War I soldier and a stray dog he befriended in training and took to the battlefields of France. Sgt. Stubby marches into theaters on April 13, with Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter and Gérard Depardieu anchoring the cast.
The real Stubby and Private First Class Robert Conroy of the 102nd Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry “Yankee” Division saw frontline action in four military offensives and 17 battles. Stubby located and comforted wounded combatants, alerted soldiers about impending poison gas attacks, and even helped to subdue a prisoner of war. Citizens of Château-Thierry, France, made Stubby an embroidered jacket that would serve as his uniform and display his medals and honors.
Before he and Conroy met in June 1917, the pit bull type dog was homeless and scrounging for scraps on the streets of New Haven, Connecticut. When he returned home in April 1919, it was to a hero’s welcome. From then until his death in March 1926, Stubby and Conroy participated in humane society parades, American Expeditionary Force reunions, and other events.
“For all who appreciate the service of dogs in war and the ties of loyalty that unite them with soldiers and veterans, this film’s a treat,” says Bernard Unti, Ph.D., HSUS senior policy advisor and a historian. “There are few stories in the history of the human-animal bond to match the stirring tale of a special dog and a special soldier who met on the training ground and served together on the field of battle during World War I. Stubby’s legacy as a doughboy mascot and a post-war ambassador for animal adoption and the kindness cause makes his story one for the ages!”
In late 2017, The HSUS and the Veterans Health Administration joined forces to support veterans and the human-animal bond, through the promotion of pet keeping by veterans and by encouraging veterans' volunteerism with animal shelters, animal rescue groups and humane societies.
“While Sgt. Stubby is entertainment for the entire family, it also shares an important, life-altering message about animal adoption,” says producer-director Richard Lanni of Fun Academy Motion Pictures. “When you adopt a pet, you get back as much as you give, and we are excited to share Stubby’s amazing, true story, which continues to change lives today, a century later.”