6 Assorted Animal Adventures

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So many readers enjoyed the post 5 Famous Felines, I thought you might like some stories of other famous animals. Here are six of them.

1. Stubby the Military Dog.

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Stubby wandered into the encampment and was adopted by the 102nd infantry of Massachusetts in 1917. When the infantry shipped out to Europe, Stubby was smuggled onto the ship bound for France. During World War I, Stubby kept watch and alerted the troops to German attacks. He was wounded by a hand grenade once and gassed several times. He once found a German spy and held him by the seat of the pants until American troops could complete the capture! When his master, Corporal J. Robert Conroy was wounded, Stubby accompanied him to the hospital and made rounds to cheer the troops. He was eventually a highly decorated dog, amassing medals for service, campaigns and battles, a Purple Heart, and various veteran's awards. A group of French women made Stubby a chamois blanket decorated with allied flags to display his medals.

Stubby returned home at the end of the war and became quite a celebrity. He was made a lifetime member of the American Legion, the YMCA, and the Red Cross. He lived at the Y and made recruiting tours for the Red Cross. When Stubby passed on in 1926, he was preserved and displayed with his medals at the Smithsonian Institution.

2. Bubba the Chemotherapy Fish

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Bubba was a 154-pound Queensland Grouper who lived in the 400,000 gallon shark tank at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. In 2001, he was diagnosed with cancer. In 2002, and again in 2003, Bubba underwent surgery and chemotherapy to fight the tumors. He was the first fish to ever undergo chemotherapy treatment, and the resulting publicity was an inspiration to cancer patients, particularly children. Bubba died suddenly in 2006, at age 24.

The ammo-loading bear, the sportscaster monkey, and more, after the jump.

3. Tirpitz, the Swimming Pig of World War I

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Tirpitz was a pig carried on the German warship SMS Dresden in 1914 as a food source. The Dresden was sunk in battle with the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Glasgow off the coast of South America. Tirpitz managed to escape the sinking ship and swam towards the Glasgow. The crew brought him aboard an adopted him as a mascot, awarding him the Iron Cross for bravery. After a year on the Glasgow, he was tranferred to the Whale Island Gunnery School in Portsmouth. Tirpitz was eventually auctioned off as pork, but in his final act he raised £1,785 for the British Red Cross. His head was mounted and can be seen at the Imperial War Museum in London.

4. Voytek, the Bear who Joined the Polish Army

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An Iranian boy in the mountains of Hamadan rescued an abandoned bear cub in 1942. He sold the bear to a unit of the Polish Army Corps passing through the area. A soldier named Peter raised the cub, who became bonded with humans. He lived, marched, and even wrestled with the soldiers. When the unit was ordered to Rome in 1944, pets were specifically prohibited. So they drew up papers and enlisted Voytek as a soldier in the 22nd Transport Division (Artillery Supply) of the Polish 2nd Army Corps. With such credentials, he could hardly be denied entry! During the battle of Monte Cassino, Voytek loaded truck after truck with heavy shells, artillery boxes and food sacks to be sent to isolated ally forces. He never dropped a single shell.

One of the soldiers happened to sketch a picture of Voytek carrying a largeWojtekemblem.jpg artillery shell in his arms, and this image became the symbol of the 22nd artillery transport, worn proudly on the sleeves of their uniforms ever afterwards and emblazoned on all the unit's vehicles.

After the war, Voytek enjoyed a hero's welcome in Scotland, where people were astonished to see him marching side-by-side with the soldiers he served with. Voytek spent the rest of his life at the Edinburgh Zoo, where he died in 1963.

5. Maggie the Sportscaster Monkey

11maggie.jpg Maggie is a crab-eating macaque born in 1991 at the Bowmanville Zoo in Canada. In 2003, sportcasters from the Canadian broadcaster TSN decided to try out their prediction skills against a monkey, and Maggie was chosen to try. She make her selections for the Stanley Cup Playoffs by spinning a wheel, and ended the season out-predicting one sportscaster, tying two, and finished one guess behind the other three. In 2004, she was given her own TV segment, and although her predictions weren't as accurate as the year before, she kept pace with the human sportscasters. In 2006, Maggie's predictions were more accurate than the three humans on the panel! She didn't do so well in 2007, but her popularity more than makes up for her accuracy.

6. Timothy the Naval Tortoise

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A tortoise was confiscated by the Royal Navy from a Portuguese privateer in 1854. Timothy was made a navy mascot and served on several ships during the Crimean War. Timothy also traveled by ship to the East Indies and China, and was awarded service medals for the campaigns. Afterward, Timothy retired to the estate of the Earl of Devon, surviving through several generations of the family. The family motto was etched on Timothy's underside, "Where Have I fallen, what have I done?" In 1926, when given the opportunity to mate, it was discovered that Timothy was a female! The name remained, however, since she'd had it for the better part of century by then. Timothy died in 2004, at the estimated age of 160!

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January 7, 2008 - 11:31pm
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