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Dog-gone true story about George Washington

George Washington was a dog lover. It is said that our country’s first president owned close to fifty dogs during his lifetime. Truelove, Sweetlips, Vulcan and Mopsey were some of the names which George gave to his dogs.When George went off to fight in the Revolutionary War, he brought along one of his dogs, Sweetlips. Dogs often accompanied their masters into battle and served several helpful purposes. A dog provided companionship, guarded their owner against wild animals and helped in hunting.

After the Battle of Germantown, Washington came across a little dog(breed not known) wandering around the battlefield. The dog seemed very friendly and George wondered to whom the little dog belonged. George checked the pooch for a collar and tag and found that the dog belonged to....the enemy, British General William Howe!

Being a gentleman, George decided to return the dog to British General William Howe. When the other soldiers learned they had Howe’s dog, the men wanted to keep the dog, as a war prize! Washington said he would not do this saying that Americans were people of honor and that the little dog was not their enemy. George thought about how he’d go about returning the dog to its owner and decided to have his aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton, write a note to General Howe. (You can see the note below). The note was tucked into the dog's collar. A truce was then arranged where both sides flew white flags announcing that fighting was to stop. It is said that George also placed a personal note inside the collar as well. With the two sides flying the white flags of a truce, the dog was delivered to the side of the British.

The British General Howe was very impressed with what he called an “honorable act” by George Washington. Historians say that from that day, Howe seemed to show more compassion toward the colonists. And, when Howe was requested to fight harder against the colonists, he resigned!

Could a dog have played a role in helping the colonists during the American Revolutionary War? What do you think?


General Washington's compliments to General Howe. He does himself the pleasure to return him a dog, which accidentally fell into his hands, and by the inscription on the Collar appears to belong to General Howe." from: Primary document-Letter

Note: Illustration from