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Weird History: The Great Dane Who Won a World War II Medal


Forgive the language, but have you ever taken a really good piss? In 1941, a Great Dane named Juliana did. In fact, it was so good that the British government gave her a medal for it.

How do we know? Because Juliana's medal and portrait were sold at auction in Britain years later. According to a 2013 article by the BBC, Juliana's engraved Blue Cross medal was found in Bristol along with a watercolor portrait of the dog. The medal's engraving bears Juliana's name and reveals that the Great Dane put out an incendiary bomb after it was dropped on her owner's home during World War II. She did this by peeing on the bomb.

But Juliana didn't just earn one Blue Cross medal. No. She was awarded two.

This same BBC article notes that the dog received a second medal in 1944 "for alerting her owner to a fire which broke out in his shoe shop."

The Blue Cross is an animal welfare charity established in 1897 that remains active to this day. It was originally created to care for London work horses. It went on to create London's first animal hospital and in the early 1900s, it began giving what would eventually be known as the Blue Cross Medal for acts of bravery or heroism.


A number of horses received the award during World War I and several dogs were awarded the medal between 1940-1951, including one dog who saved a marine who could not swim and another dog who dug through debris after a bomb went off to save a mother and her baby. In 1942, a cat earned the Blue Cross medal for alerting a family to a fire that had broken out in their home.

Juliana was one of the largest dogs to have been awarded and the medal and seems to be the only one to receive it twice. Sadly, Juliana died in 1946 when someone put poison through her owner's letterbox. Because some people are just absolute garbage.

But it's always nice to hear about a hero dog, especially one distinguished for acts of service during times of great hardship.


Here's to Juliana, a very good dog.


[Image Credit: Great Dane photo via Wikimedia Commons]

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