Heroic French war dog, honored by the Army now un-American, thanks to Y. M. C. A. Man.
Pottsville Miners Journal. June 11, 1919.
Loost, credited with two official citations, spent years in no man’s land on slopes of Verdun’s protecting outpost from German raiders and patrols.
If the airmen were the eyes of the Army this dog was the ears of at least a part of it. For two years he lay every night out in no man’s land. Watching and listening for Germans patrols and raiding parties. His name is Loost, and as a real veteran of the war he has two citations to his credit for having saved French troops from surprise attacks by the Hun patrols. He did this while it staying on the outer defenses of Verdun. So acute is Loost’s hearing that he could detect sappers trying to tunnel under the French trenches, a gift that enabled him several times to spoil the plans of the German engineers. After the armistice was signed he came into the hands of the French war dog society which encouraged the breeding of such dogs long before the war and later has taken care of those animals which became disabled or too old to be longer fit for active work. It was while he was a guest of the society that Loost met his present owner. Ralph H. McKelvey, a New York insurance broker who was doing welfare work for in France for the YMCA.
McKelvey’s work was the dispatching of tons of books for the doughboys in all parts of France. A great warehouse in Paris was filled with volumes pamphlets and reading matter of all sorts and it was McKelvey’s job to keep this mass of literature moving to the points where it was most needed. So well did he do this that the president of the war dog society from admiration of McKelvey’s work and knowing McKelvey’s love of dogs promised him a canine war hero to bring to America and give a home.
Loost does not know a word of English and has to be spoken to in French, but when talked to in his native tongue he seems to understand everything and anything. The “Y” man said,, when on the liner on the way home ,, “Loost got only a puzzled stare and a wine when McKelvey cried, Go up the ladder Loost, but when McKelvey said, “Alles”, Loost! “Montes “Loost at once scrambled up the ladder, to the cheers of the voyageurs.
On one of the occasions when this dog was honored. The French commander of a company at one of the outer defenses of Verdun officially recommended him for a citation, and another time loosed was cited by a kernel and paraded before the grateful French troops.
In all probability, Loost never will see his native land again Mr. McKelvey has a large country place in northern New York and there the war hero will go to live. Having nothing more difficult or dangerous to do than an occasional drive home the cows. McKelvey foresees the need of a French course for his farmhands if his new dog is going to escape being homesick.