The dog is so devoted that it is questionable whether a human deserves such love.
Last spring on May, 9 when all people celebrate the Victory Day, I took my dog for a walk and attached a St George ribbon to its collar. The people around us were indignant, they were swearing and shouting that it was disgusting to discredit the great victory in this way. So I have decided to write this essay in an attempt to show what contribution our best friends – dogs – made to the victory in the Great Patriotic War. They received neither awards nor ranks. They accomplished feats of arms without knowing it. They simply did what people had taught them to do – and perished, like people, perished for the sake of people. Perishing, they saved thousands of human lives. The Red Square saw many parades, but only once, at the Victory Parade a composite battalion of dogs took part in it.
In the days of the Great Patriotic War about sixty thousand dogs were sent to the front line,
and not only sheep dogs, but other breeds as well, up to large mongrels. They made up 168 detachments. At the front dogs were employed for various purposes. Most known are those dogs that carried explosives on them and blew up enemy tanks by rushing under them. In the battle of Stalingrad there was a case when the German tankmen, having noticed the dogs that had jumped out of the trenches and were running towards the oncoming tanks, turned the tanks back. During the war dogs blew up more than 300 German tanks at the cost of their lives. Thus, about two tank divisions were put out of action. One of the dogs derailed an enemy armoured train, and stayed alive.
Dogs also delivered ammunition to the front line in light sleighs in winter and drag harrows and small carts in summer. They took wounded soldiers away from the front line. In total during the years of war dogs saved up to 650,000 lives and delivered to the front line 6,000 tons of ammunition and 2,000 ZIS-5 trucks. Dogs proved particularly irreplaceable in marshy and deep-snow areas as well as in dense forest as no other means of transport, including horses, would be suitable there. Each sleigh was usually dragged by four dogs.
Messenger dogs delivered more than 20,000 reports, took telephone line wires to areas that were impassable for soldiers, as dogs are naturally smaller and faster, thus being harder targets. The greatest help was rendered by dogs in mine clearing. One sheep dog, whose nickname was Dik, found 12,000 mines during the war including a large high-explosive clockwork bomb put under a palace near Leningrad by the Nazis in retreat. Our four-footed friends helped to clear of mines 303 big cities and settlements among which Pskov, Smolensk, Bryansk, Lviv, Minsk, Kiev, Stalingrad, Odessa, Kharkov, Voronezh, Warsaw, Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague. Their contribution also includes 18,394 mine-cleared buildings and a total of 500,000 cleared mines.
The front dogs had special uniform – in winter they were camouflaged with white gowns, which made them practically invisible on the snow background.
Many dogs lost their lives, a lot of them were wounded. A dog, despite being fatally injured, tried to carry out the order given to it by people, because of fidelity, love, respect! Dogs gave their lives for the sake of people, for the sake of the people who are now indignant over dogs having a St George ribbon on the collar! The dog has the right to put it on to be proud of its ancestors, like all of us feel proud of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers. The Victory songs are performed in glory and gratitude to the people who lost their lives in the war. It is an exception rather than a rule to hear a couple of lines dedicated to the dogs` bravery.
People are arrogant, self-seeking and fame-minded. Dogs seek nothing of the kind. They are always ready to give us their love, help and even their lives for our sake. But… do we really deserve it?