Dogs Wanted


Sergeant Major
Aug 8, 2011
Gettysburg area
In a recent article, a historian has observed parallels between the role of the many pets adopted during the coronavirus pandemic and the animals—especially dogs—who accompanied soldiers in the Civil War. What’s also interesting is that it makes reference to an unmet demand for soldiers’ pets and mascots. Apparently one soldier who author Marcy Sacks quotes wasn’t alone in his willingness to steal a dog, if necessary. (A few such instances have been reported in soldier stories shared here in the CWT “Four Footed Friends” Forum, like these. Or perhaps a soldier who might not steal a dog outright would entice one away from a nearby farm.)

But my reference to the shortage of pets is just a sidelight on the main topic. t’s not surprising that the healing nature of the human-animal bond hasn’t changed since the Civil War. After all, human nature hasn’t changed, either.

Something else to enjoy in Dr. Sacks’ article is this illustration, apparently a period drawing of a soldier and his bulldog. Based on its penciled caption, I think having a loyal dog by his side might be at least a little consolation for a soldier worrying about his sweetheart being courted by a fellow back home.

Here is the article, “Helping Humans Cope: The Popularity of Pandemic Pets and Civil War Companion Animals,” from a June 2021 post for the Journal of the Civil War Era.