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Home Front Friday: Man’s Best Friend

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Today is National Take Your Dog to Work Day, in honor of our favorite furry friends who have been by our sides for centuries!

World War II was no exception to our dogs’ special companionship. Many American animals were enlisted in the war effort alongside their humans. These service animals became known as the Loyal Forces, and were utilized by every branch of the U.S. military, with 20,000 dogs serving in the war.

The Loyal Forces provided a variety of services. War dogs were trained to sniff out bombs, carry messages, act as scouts, and boost morale for servicemen. Many of them were pets volunteered by their owners for services such as Dogs for Defense.

Snafu, a U.S. Navy Mascot

Snafu, a U.S. Navy Mascot

Mascot of the escort carrier USS Baltic Sea

Mascot of the escort carrier USS Baltic Sea

Solomon Islands

Andy, a two year old Doberman Pinscher, sees action on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, November 1943

Here are some stories about a few famous dogs of World War II:

  • Chips: This German Shepherd-Collie-Siberian Husky mix was the most decorated dog of World War II. Chips saw action in France, Italy, North Africa, and Germany, and even served as sentry for the Roosevelt-Churchill conference in 1943. He helped take 10 Italians prisoner after escaping from machine gunners during the invasion of Sicily. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart; however, these awards were later revoked due to an Army policy preventing official commendation of animals. His unit later unofficially awarded him 8 battle stars for his campaigns. His story was later adapted into a TV movie by Disney.

Chips in Italy, 26 November 1943


  • Smoky: Smoky was a little Yorkshire terrier found by an American soldier in a foxhole in New Guinea. She was sold to Corporal William A. Wynne, who carried her in his backpack throughout the Pacific. Wynne credited Smoky with saving his life by warning him of incoming shells – she warned him to duck just as enemy fire took out eight men standing next to Wynne. Smoky was also used to run a telegraph wire through a narrow pipe, a feat which saved 250 ground crewmen and kept 40 planes flying. Smoky has been awarded numerous medals and has had many memorials dedicated to her throughout the United States.
  • Judy: Judy was a Pointer that served aboard the HMS Grasshopper and HMS Gnat, where she was able to provide advanced warnings for enemy fire. When the Grasshopper sank, Judy was able to find water for the surviving crewmen on a nearby deserted island. Judy and the survivors eventually became prisoners of war, where Judy was listed as an official POW – the only dog of World War II to be listed as such. While being held prisoner, Judy saved several passengers aboard transport ships from drowning.

Click here to learn more about animals during the war and read an excerpt from Lindsey F. Barnes and Toni M. Kiser’s Loyal Forces: The American Animals of World War II!

So what can you do to show your little buddy you care? Why not make some delicious homemade dog treats? Keep reading to find out how:


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce or mashed banana
  • ¼ cup vegetable, chicken or beef stock
  • Cookie cutter



  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine flour, peanut butter and apple sauce in a large mixing bowl. Add stock and stir until well-combined. The dough will be thick. Once combined use your hands to press the dough into a ball.13140552_10205955603600818_1183464147_n
  3. Place dough ball on a flat service (with a sprinkle of flour if needed) and roll out evenly with a rolling pin. Dough should be about ¼ inch thick. 13162492_10205955604000828_1293703044_n
  4. Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into desired shape and place on an ungreased baking sheet.13149869_10205955605080855_1259862914_n
  5. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Store in an airtight container.13141122_10205955605840874_1411567973_n
  6. Give to your dog!13181205_10205957279042703_2127872614_n 13183198_10205957278962701_799430150_n

Thanks to Brittany Mullins at eatingbirdfood.com for the recipe!

Posted by Katie Atkins, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.


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