Dogs played a variety of roles during the war depending on their breed, intelligence and the training they had received. This included as:
- sentries - quietly letting their masters know if the enemy was approaching
- scouts - patrolling ahead and detecting the enemies' scent and alerting their masters by 'pointing' in the direction of the approaching enemy
- casualty - finding the wounded or dying on battlefield and carrying medical supplies to the wounded who were able to tend to their own wounds
- messengers - carrying messages, particularly in the trenches where communication was difficult
- mascots - these were often the officer's dog in a military unit and were intended to boost morale amongst the soldiers.
|Ref: Auckland Weekly News, Dog auctioned for the patriotic fund, 1914, Sir George Grey Special Collections, AWNS-19140827-36-3|
Famous NZ mascots include: Caesar from the A Company, 4 Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade; Floss the New Zealand Army rugby team mascot; Pelorus Jack of HMS New Zealand and Freda, 5 Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade. You can find out more about the First World War mascots here.
Listed below are a selection of First World War animal related resources and heritage photos of the brave mascots who did their bit for New Zealand:
- Jilly Cooper, narrated by Patricia Gallimore. 'Animals in war' (compact disc)
- Juliet Gardiner in association with the Imperial War Museum (2006). 'The animals' war: animals in wartime from the First World War to the present day'
- Roland Perry (2013). 'Horrie the war dog [electronic resource] : the story of Australia's most famous war dog' (electronic resource)
- Felix Salten with a translation by Kenneth C. Kaufman. (2013). 'Renni the rescuer: a dog of the battlefield'.
|Ref: Auckland Weekly News, volunteers in training including a dog mascot, at Awapuni military camp, Palmerston North, 1914, Sir George Grey Special Collections, AWNS-19140910-39-3|
|Ref: Auckland Weekly News, Jim the mascot of the 3rd Auckland Infantry, no location, 1914, Sir George Grey Special Collections, AWNS-19141001-48-6|
|Ref: Auckland Weekly News, Auckland Mounted Infantry members of the NZ Expeditionary Force with bulldog mascot, 1914, Sir George Grey Special Collections, AWNS-19141008-36-1|
|Ref: Herman Schmidt, Returned Soldiers group from the 15th North Auckland Regiment with bulldog, Auckland, c. 1910-1919, Sir George Grey Special Collections, 31-WP8123|
Author: Natasha Barrett (NB)