#2. Sallie the Bull Terrier
Sallie the bull terrier was adopted by the captain of a Union regiment when she was just a puppy. She grew up among the soldiers as they were preparing for what came to be the bloodiest part of the Civil War. During the drills, she would run alongside the soldiers and stand at attention during the daily dress parade. Her antics gained her widespread fame -- even Lincoln himself was known to give Sallie a salute.
When fight time finally came, Sallie took part in every battle. She would run to the frontline and bark at the enemy, terrifying her foes and encouraging her own troops. She was so happy and effective at this fear-mongering that despite her near-celebrity status, taking her to the relative safety behind the lines never even crossed anyone's mind. She stood along with the rest of the battle-hardened soldiers, charging against Gatling guns and rifles like it ain't no thing.
"Let me know when you pussies invent dive bombers."
During one particularly nasty battle, Sallie's regiment was pushed back into a nearby town. They were eventually able to push the Confederates back, and when they finally recovered what had been their absolute frontline days earlier they found Sallie standing vigil over wounded Union soldiers and watching over the dead bodies of her fallen allies. She had been doing that for three whole days. No hunger, no thirst, and definitely no charging Confederate army had been able to make her flinch one bit.
If she'd previously been something of a symbol of Union fighting spirit, this made Sallie a bona fide living legend. She kept on fighting, shrugging off enemy soldiers and the occasional bullet, until a fateful February 1865 attack in the Petersburg lines that led to the demise of the whole first wave of the Union attack. Men of the second wave found Sallie's body and actually paused the attack to bury her while under heavy enemy fire.
The statue was later constructed from her solid brass balls.
A few decades later, when a monument was constructed to commemorate the brave efforts of the 11th Pennsylvania regiment, the surviving soldiers insisted she be included.
Though now technically an ex-dog, Sallie was far from finished. She'd done her part in elevating her breed from mere flesh to an idea, V for Vendetta style -- a popular movement actually attempted to establish bull terriers as the symbol of America, a trend that lasted well into the world wars.
That's right -- Sallie and her ilk were once very close to kicking the American eagle's ass as the go-to U.S. animal.
#1. Gander the Newfoundland
With his large build and goofy, friendly demeanor, the Canadian Newfoundland dog Pal was loved by the local children. They would wrestle him and have him tow their sleds, until one day Pal accidentally gave one of the kids a scratch from his paw.
"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."
His owners feared that the authorities would take action against their beloved gentle giant, so they donated Pal to a local rifle regiment. The soldiers, who already knew Pal and recognized the potential of having a dog the size of a small car on the team, renamed him Gander, "promoted" him to sergeant and made him their official mascot.
Gander adapted to military life well enough, and the next thing he knew, the unit was sent overseas to assist in the battle for Hong Kong in 1941.
The soldiers are in the back because Gander goddamn said so.
In December 1941, the Japanese found that attacking a unit under the cover of night is only a good idea when the enemy doesn't happen to have a giant black hellhound guarding their camp. Gander noticed the impending sneak attack, decided to drop the silly puppy act and switched his Hound of the Baskervilles knob up to 11. And that's when things got fucking metal.
The first wave of the attack was stopped by a gaping, furiously barking maw followed by 170 pounds of pitch-black, furry battering ram, mowing down the terrified Japanese at thigh height.
After doing away with them, Gander roared down on a second Japanese unit he spotted advancing on a group of injured Royal Rifles, this time adding biting to his already impressive "invincible night demon" repertoire. Again, the enemy fled, because who wouldn't?
When Gander sat down to guard the injured soldiers, the Japanese finally collected themselves enough to remember that they were a fighting unit, with weaponry and all that jazz. So they opened fire and chucked a grenade at the terrified group.
Gander took a calm look at the grenade, seconds away from exploding. Then, almost nonchalantly, he picked the thing up and charged right the fuck again, at the terrified Japanese troops that had just enough time to realize how badly karma was about to bite their ass about that whole "kamikaze" thing.
Gander went out in an explosive blaze of glory, later receiving a posthumous medal for his unbelievable bravery and becoming the only nonhuman soldier whose name is included in the Hong Kong memorial wall in Ottawa. And while there are many reasons as to why Japan and Canada enjoy a healthy relationship based on mutual respect, we can't help thinking that the several thousand Newfoundlands drooling about in Canada don't exactly hurt Japan's motivation to stay on friendly terms.
For more combat badassery, check out 6 Soldiers Who Survived Shit That Would Kill a Terminator. Or discover some animals that went viral that actually needed saving in 8 'Adorable' Viral Videos That Qualify as Animal Cruelty.
And stop by LinkSTORM to get Rebecca Black's autograph (maybe).
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