1918 World War I Hero Dog United War Work Campaign

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This small stuffed dog (1918-), which is over a hundred years old,  is an amazing and extremely rare part of American World War I history. This may be the only surviving example of a dog that was given as a thank-you gift to those who donated to the United War Work Campaign of November 11-18, 1918.

About the Dog:

The dog is an Airedale Terrier, a breed of dog which was considered a brave American hero of trench warfare in WWI. The dogs were fitted with gas masks and would courier messages between the troops. They were also sent ahead to search the battlefield. The dogs would find wounded soldiers and comfort them. Their actions saved countless American lives. Because of this, the Airedale Terrier was chosen in 1918 as the dog that would become the model for the United War Work Campaign gift.

Note: Video and photo attached of real WWI Dogs

The dog is handmade and hand-sewn with cloth material of the time. The dog has a collar that is intact, but frayed. On the dog's chest is a patriotic pin designed for the War Work Campaign that says "For the boy's over there" and "United War Work Campaign". The Smithsonian holds a similar tag in its collection. The Smithsonian does not have a dog that we are aware of.

About WWI in 1918:

World War I had been raging for many years by 1918. Peace was hoped for, but it was unknown if it would come. Morale of the troops was waning.

The United War Work Campaign of 1918.

John D. Rockefeller famously addressed the nation in cooperation with President Wilson and appealed for the largest American donation campaign ever. The money would be used to support the troops with their non-military needs, both then and hopefully after the war would end. The goal was audacious. To raise over $170,000,000 in just one month. Americans came together and a groundswell of support took place. Phone banks were set up to take donations. This dog was a gift for making a donation. It was considered at the time, the most successful marketing campaign of all-time. It has also been credited with being the first telemarketing campaign.

Seven organizations participated in this campaign: The American Library Association, Jewish Welfare Board, Knights of Columbus, the Salvation Army, War Camp Community Service, Young Men's Christian Association and Young Women's Christian Association.

The United Work Campaign is also credited as the start of one of America's most successful advertising agencies, Batten Barton Durstine & Osborn.

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