Hello Humans! It me – Purr’ll again! I have found that as November unfolds, people start to remember all those brave soldiers who gave their nine lives in hopes for freedom, in some cases, glory and in others, to conquer. War it seems, has been around for a very long time. There have been tyrants and heroes alike. As Remembrance Day approaches, my mommy tells me we should give thanks to all of those who died so that we could be free.
I know that Humans always honor their fallen on this day, whether from World War I or II, or the ongoing wars raging today. It is a sad and nostalgic time for those who have had any family member serve and especially for those who have lost someone they loved.
So this year, please take the time to remember those individuals who were so very brave – and this includes the animals that fought with them or in their stead. In fact, they have even had an Animals in War dedication – check out this site for some interesting reading: http://aiwdedication.ca/
War comes and us animals are also trained to help out and do our part. Did you know that Horses, Camels and Elephants were ridden into battle or used as pack animals along with Mules and Oxen? Or that Sweden and the Soviet Union even tried to use Moose? That makes me giggle a bit. A Moose in battle? They were eventually deemed unsuitable – go figure, right?
Humans have used other animals too – in fact, there were War Pigs used against the Elephants – Pliny the Elder wrote that the Elephants were scared by the pigs’ squeals and would panic – a real disaster for any soldier that was in their way I imagine. Elephants are really big!
Carrier Pigeons would take messages back and forth across enemy lines.
Rats were used once they had died to put small explosives inside in hopes that the Humans that found them, would then toss them in the fires and cause even bigger explosions.
There are even reports of Monkeys being used in the Song Dynasty!
The US Navy Marine Mammal program uses trained military Dolphins and Sea lions for such things as Underwater Sentries, object recovery and even to clear mines! Wow, talk about bravery!
And who could forget our usual housemates, the Dogs? They have been used for attack, passing messages and even sniffing out bombs and traps. Though us cats hate to admit it, those dogs can be pretty smart, resourceful and adaptable at times.
But don’t rule us out either! Cats have seen combat as well! We have been used as Mascots and we were even drafted into the Royal Navy where we did our part to control the rats and vermin on board to keep our Humans healthy and able to fight.
It was even documented that Ramses II had a pet lion which fought with him during the Battle of Kadesh. Now that is a very big cousin, but my mommy tells me that it still counts!
There was also a CIA project called Acoustic Kitty. I hate to say it, but I am glad it failed because humans were surgically modifying us felines to help them spy on the Kremlin and Soviet embassies in the 1960’s. Mommy tells me that cats are Purrfect, so modifying us was unnecessary.
So please, as we all take a moment to remember those that have come before, Fallen or that are still fighting, please remember our animal friends and families as well.
May today bring Peace and Hope to everyone!
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.