THE DOGS WE LOVED: SHERMAN
While it is a truth universally acknowledged that the most famous sentry dog on the Alumni website is the fearsomely malevolent King M000, the second-most famous dog is almost certainly the more pacifistic Sherman.
Preston branded M931, Sherman became famous because he wouldn’t stop barking. Day or night, in the kennel or on the obstacle course, on the ground or in a truck, he wouldn’t stop. No one could figure out why he was doing this or what was wrong. It became a bigger problem
when he wouldn’t stop barking at the kennel. This was determined to be a potential danger since it called attention to the whereabouts of the kennel and was thought it would possibly encourage a nighttime enemy attack.
Veterinarians were consulted and he was tested for various maladies but none were found. Ultimately a military decision was reached, akin to a “management decision” in civilian terms, to remove Sherman’s vocal chords. Surgery was performed and additionally it was decided that Sherman’s life would be spared. Instead of a bark he now had a hoarse caw-like whisper. But whatever was ailing him still continued as he tried to give faint voice to what was wrong.
Most of the handlers who knew what happened were saddened by this turn of events. He was friendly and mostly calm with people, was petted often, and didn’t react negatively to other dogs.
But to some he almost became a figure of fun, and nicknames for him were generated: The Pacifist, barkless wonder, Sherm the unquiet, Mr. Peeps.
Years later when I told people the story the reaction was “Poor dog, why did they do that to him?”
or “What was he trying to say?” And when I very carefully set forth what happened to my animal activist friend, she came close to killing the messenger by not speaking to me for two-and-a-half
I became involved with Sherman’s plight when I realized that his name was not on the Alumni K-9
Roster, dedicated to the memory of the now deceased dogs we served with. The reason, as I found out later, was that a technical prerequisite of having the dog’s name listed was to have him or her first assigned to the name of a handler. Sherman’s handler was forgotten or otherwise unknown so Sherman was not on the roster that would memorialize him. What to do? After some thought I decided to “foster” him on paper as my dog so that he could then be added to the K-9
Roster. His name is there now to be remembered.
So, Sherman, despite your handicap you became a much loved and famous dog. And within living memory we now salute you.
Submitted by Steve Dragovich, Company Clerk, 981st 70/71