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The Life and Afterlife of a Canadian Canine War Hero

by Grant Hayter-Menzies
foreword by Mark Zuehlke

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canada, world war i
list price: $22.95
also available: eBook
category: History
published: 2021

The unusual and moving tale of Muggins, a famed fundraising dog who became a mascot of the Canadian Red Cross during the First World War.

Born in 1913 in the home of a millionaire philanthropist, Muggins was a purebred Spitz, a sharp-eared, sharp-nosed, fluffy-tailed sort of dog most often seen in the lap of a lady of leisure. But Muggins defied the odds, rising to unlikely fame during the First World War, when he became Victoria, BC’s most diminutive fundraiser. He was taught to wander through downtown during the war with two change donation boxes tied to his back, and ultimately collected the equivalent of $400,000 for charities and causes including the Red Cross, the Blue Cross, food for poor children and prisoners of war, victims of Jewish pogroms, to name a few.

During his short life, Muggins visited ferries and freight liners stopping in Victoria. He appeared in photos with the Prince of Wales and with famous Canadian general Sir Arthur Currie, among other celebrated admirers. He was also a favourite of the rank and file, helping cheer up wounded soldiers at Esquimalt Military Hospital. Muggins was made an honourary first lieutenant by the United States military for his service raising funds in Seattle. And he was so loved by departing soldiers he was more than once nearly taken along to the theatre of war.

Based on valuable documents, memorabilia, newspaper and newsreel accounts of Muggins's brief but brilliant career, this book tackles the difficult question of human use of animals in war, at home and on the battlefield. It explores how crucial animals, specifically dogs, have been to wounded veterans recovering from physical and emotional damage—both in Muggins's lifetime and now.

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About the Authors

Grant Hayter-Menzies

Grant Hayter-Menzies has specialized in biographies of extraordinary women for over a decade, publishing the first full-length accounts of the lives of Charlotte Greenwood and Billie Burke, Princess Der Ling, Sarah Pike Conger, Pauline Benton, Lillian Carter and, most recently, Dorothy Brooke. He lives in Victoria, BC. He is donating 40% of his royalties from the sales of Woo, the Monkey Who Inspired Emily Carr to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, ON.

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Mark Zuehlke

Mark Zuehlke is the author of the critically acclaimed Canadian Battle Series and many other books. He has worked as a journalist, been educated as a historian and written award-winning fiction. The Canadian Battle Series is the most detailed accounting of any army during World War II ever written by a single author. In recognition of his work, Mark Zuehlke was awarded the 2014 Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Popular Media (Pierre Berton Award). Zuehlke lives in Victoria, BC.

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