Dogs in WWI

A lot of people ask me why I included the small dog Stinker (later changed to Tinker) as a key character in Anaesthesia.

It’s quite in keeping with the time. People in Britain were asked in the name of patriotism to give up their small dogs for the war effort. The dogs were sent to the front line to pass messages between the trenches. They were terrified, of course, and latched onto people for protection. Rescued dogs were often seen around hospitals where they became a friendly, comforting and welcome sight for the casualties. Other animals were adopted by platoons and brigades. Stinker is a bit like ‘Sammy’ the mascot of the 1/4 Northumberland Fusiliers a picture of which appears in Richard van Emden’s book Tommy’s Ark: Soldiers and Their Animals in the Great War.

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