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From the archives of the National Library of Scotland:

 

Bruce.jpg

 

"Messenger dog with its handler, in France, during World War I. This collie dog worked as a messenger in the front line under constant gunfire. A scrolled up message can be seen attached to the dog’s collar. Dogs were also used in the trenches to kill rats and mice, thereby protecting food supplies. In addition to carrying out messenger duties and various other tasks, a regimental mascot also helped to maintain the troops’ morale. Most of the armies involved in 'the Great War' had specially trained dogs in many of their regiments. These dogs performed a wide range of important tasks, including carrying messages, sentry duty, acting as decoys, ambulance duties and killing vermin. Keeping a pet also helped to raise the morale of the soldiers, by adding an element of domestic home life to the trench. [Original reads: 'OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. "Bruce", a well known messenger dog who is always working under shell fire in the line.']"

 

Image can be found here.

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What an interesting archive - I see dogs of many types being used for messengers, and their benefits outlined (including the "mascot" factor).

 

Thank you for posting this and the link.

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Cool! I grew up thinking all collies were gun-shy. But I met many that were not when I grew up. Mine doesn't mind thunder except once when it came down on the next street over - she jumped into bed with me and stayed there for over an hour.

 

But imagine the noise this dog must have had to deal with!

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I get such mixed feelings about these war dogs. I'm proud of them and I know they meant the world to the soldiers they served. I know they offered a touch of home and unmeasurable comfort to men caught in a living hell, and I know they performed heroic deeds. But ... a part of me just breaks, to think of dogs in such hellish circumstances, and to know that many of them were wounded or killed.

 

I wonder if this handsome fellow survived. I'd like to think so, and that he lived to a happy, well-loved old age.

 

~ Gloria

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Back then, Collies were Border Collies. The word "Border" was later added to distinguish the working Collie from the new Show Collie.

 

Many people still call their Border Collies just Collies or Sheepdogs.

 

Cool picture!

Yup. When that picture was taken collies was collies - for the most part - I was referring to both kinds. It's sort of like the "all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares" thing: All Border Collies are collies, but not all collies are Border Collies. ;)

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