Monday, February 15, 2010

George Washington and General Howe's Dog

Today, we celebrate President's Day in the United States. Many of our presidents have had dogs over the years. George Washington, our first president was known to be an avid dog lover and happened to also breed fox hounds. In his lifetime, he had owned over 50 dogs. One of his best known dogs was named Sweet Lips, a fox hound that had even accompanied him into battle.

The Battle of Germantown

On October 6, 1777, while the Americans were fighting the British in the battle of Germantown, a dog happened to wander over enemy lines. After examining its collar, it turned out that the dog belonged to General Howe.

Some of the soldiers wanted to keep it to have an upper hand over the British, however, George Washington refused. He believed that no dog shouldn't be away from his owner and wrote a letter to General Howe explaining how he was returning the dog back to him.

The Aftereffects

This is a significant story in history because after this instance General Howe's attitude changed towards the colonists. Even though he won the battle in Germantown, he didn't stay in the war much longer. William Howe was known to be indolent and laid back.Asking to be relieved on his duties on October 22, in response to the criticism of his fellow Englishmen, he asked to be relieved of his duties. By May of 1778, he resigned from his post. One wonders how much a factor George Washington's selfless act played into his decision.

Let's Discuss

What's your favorite historical story about dogs?

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George Washington and General Howe's Dog by Caroline Tiger

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