From Stray Dog to World War I Hero


From Stray Dog to World War I Hero

The Paris Terrier Who Joined the First Division

Grant Hayter-Menzies
Foreword by Pen Farthing
Introduction by Paul E. Funk II

216 pages
25 illustrations


November 2015


$26.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2015


$26.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2015


$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

On the streets of Paris one day in July 1918, an American doughboy, Sgt. Jimmy Donovan, befriended a stray dog that he named Rags. No longer an unwanted street mutt, Rags became the mascot to the entire First Division of the American Expeditionary Force and a friend to the American troops who had crossed the Atlantic to fight. Rags was more than a scruffy face and a wagging tail, however. The little terrier mix was with the division at the crucial battle of Soissons, at the Saint-Mihiel offensive, and finally in the blood-and-mud bath of the Meuse-Argonne, during which he and his guardian were wounded. Despite being surrounded by distraction and danger, Rags learned to carry messages through gunfire, locate broken communications wire for the Signal Corps to repair, and alert soldiers to incoming shells, saving the lives of hundreds of American soldiers. Through it all, he brought inspiration to men with little to hope for, especially in the bitter last days of the war.

From Stray Dog to World War I Hero covers Rags’s entire life story, from the bomb-filled years of war through his secret journey to the United States that began his second life, one just as filled with drama and heartache. In years of peace, Rags served as a reminder to human survivors of what held men together when pushed past their limits by the horrors of battle.

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Author Bio

Grant Hayter-Menzies is the author of several books, including The Empress and Mrs. Conger: The Uncommon Friendship of Two Women and Two Worlds; Lillian Carter: A Compassionate Life; and Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton. Pen Farthing was named the 2014 CNN Hero of the Year and is the founder and chairman of Nowzad Dogs. Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II is a commanding general of the First Infantry Division in the U.S. Army and has commanded the Special Forces units with military detection dogs while in Afghanistan.

The author will donate a portion of each book’s sale to Nowzad Dogs, a nonprofit that reunites soldiers who served in Afghanistan with the dog or cat they adopted while deployed.


"Carefully researched and movingly written."—Kate Kelly, America Comes Alive

"I recommend this book for any animal lover."—Jess Creason, Read This! Book Reviews!

"A great read."—Don Messerschmidt, Portland Book Review

"From Stray dog to World War I Hero is a delightful biography of one of America’s most famous, though forgotten, animal heroes."—VPI in World War I

“A vivid, riveting, true tale of courage and compassion. . . . I fell in love with Rags, and I’ll be first in line for the movie!”—Maria Goodavage, author of Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca 

“Simply brilliant. An inspired storyteller. . . . Those who consider themselves dog lovers should read this book.”—Mary Elizabeth Thurston, author of The Lost History of the Canine Race

“Utterly charming, and if you love dogs, this will prove irresistible!”—Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Dogs Never Lie about Love

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
Foreword by Pen Farthing    
Introduction by Paul E. Funk II    
Prologue: Aspin Hill, March 1936    
Part 1. Gutter Pup
1. The Hill of Mars    
2. A Dog’s Life    
3. War Dog    
4. A Match Made in Hell    
5. Last Battle    
Part 2. Days of Peace
6. New World    
7. Family    
8. Governors Island    
9. Fame    
10. Old Warrior    
11. The Dog That Had a Soul    
12. War Hero    

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