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Dog With Gas Mask
Dog Wearing a Gas Mask in World War 1

This photograph of a French sergeant and his dog wearing a gas mask during world war 1 looks like something out of a steampunk, post apocalyptic hell. In fact, this duo formed part of a team of medics whose job was to locate wounded soldiers on the battlefield and bring them back to a field hospital. They also collected the dead. where possible, for burial. In most cases, the dead and the wounded were left on the battlefield. There were not enough stretcher bearers to bring back the wounded, let alone collect the dead; especially under enemy fire.

The dog’s keen nose was used to find survivors as well as deceased soldiers who might be hidden under rubble or in the mud. You can see a stretcher party in the far left background removing a casualty.

Below is a closeup of the stretcher party:

Stretcher Bearers Carrying the Wounded, WW1
Stretcher Bearers Carrying the Wounded, WW1

And here is a closeup magnifying the dog handler’s gas mask. When you see it up close, it is remarkable how primitive his protective gear is.

WW1 Gas Mask
WW1 Gas Mask

Below is a picture of the dog’s gas mask. You have to wonder how effective this protection was for the poor dog. Even if the mask managed to keep out the gas, it would surely leave toxins on his fur which he would later lick. I am also surprised that the dog could still do his job of detecting fallen soldiers, because I would have thought that the mask would block off his sense of smell, but apparently even poison gas and filters could not keep this brave dog from doing his duty.

Gas Mask for Dog, WW1
Dog Gas Mask