Best Defense
Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Rebecca’s War Dog of the Week: Summer Postcard Series: Butch, a father’s best bud

By Rebecca Frankel Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent I came across this wonderful photo of Butch and war-dog tribute in his honor on United States War Dog Association’s Facebook page this week. I got in touch with the owner of the photograph, Tonja Dubois, and not only did she graciously give permission to share the ...

By , a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy.
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By Rebecca Frankel

By Rebecca Frankel

Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent

I came across this wonderful photo of Butch and war-dog tribute in his honor on United States War Dog Association’s Facebook page this week. I got in touch with the owner of the photograph, Tonja Dubois, and not only did she graciously give permission to share the image here (a photograph her father carried in his wallet until the day he died), but offered more of the story.

"According to my dad, Butch, a French Bulldog, was the unit mascot (sadly, I don’t know the unit’s identification information) and he was with the Air Force from the time he was a puppy. The whole unit took part in raising him.

Butch was a true companion to my dad and, according to Dad, ‘one smart fellow.’ He would accompany the men to the garage and "work" with the crew, fetching tools for the mechanics. He was a beloved dog among all the men but was clearly attached to my dad. They were tremendous friends and my dad doted on him with playtime, tricks, belly rubs, and walks.

Butch had such an impact on my father, that Dad developed a love for dogs that I have seen unmatched in other people. He didn’t care what kind of dog it was; he loved it unconditionally.

From the way my father spoke of Butch, he was probably the first real confidante he had. He was also Dad’s first dog. No other compared to him. Butch reigned supreme in my dad’s heart until his death in February 2010."

Tonja writes that he father was allowed to adopt Butch when he left the military — the Air Force relented after much begging. Butch lived at home with his favorite Airman until his death that, in a remarkable if not sad coincidence, came to pass on the very day Tonja was born in 1965.

Rebecca Frankel, on leave from her FP desk, is currently writing a book about military working dogs, to be published by Free Press.

Thomas E. Ricks is a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy. Twitter: @tomricks1

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