This Gold Pilsner label pays homage to the working dog warriors of past, present, and future. From fighting on the front lines, to performing their duties as service dogs, these heroes deserve a biscuit on us!
NEW LABEL COMING SOON. THE TITLE SHOULD GIVE YOU A HINT AT WHAT IT IS!
Dogs have been a soldier’s best friend since the Ancient Egyptians began using them. With the release of our first label, War Dog, we are proud to be able to pay homage to these Canadian Warriors and to tell the story of a couple who have inspired us.
Sgt Gander (Pal)
During the Second World War, the 1st Battalion of the Royal Rifles of Canada was gifted with their mascot named Pal. Pal was a Newfoundland dog who was donated by his family to avoid being put down. Renamed to Gander, he was quickly welcomed into his new pack and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant (Sgt). In late 1941, Sgt Gander was deployed with his Battalion to Hong Kong as the Battalion mascot but soon found himself in the thick of the fighting.
Figure 1: Gander on route to Hong Kong with C Company, Royal Rifles of Canada, 27 October 1941.
During the Battle of Hong Kong, Sgt Gander earned the nickname “Black Beast” from the Japanese soldiers. This was in appreciation of Sgt Gander fighting Japanese soldiers in the middle of the night. His black fur made him virtually invisible to the naked eye and his aggressive bark and willingness to maul his enemies, caused the Japanese to believe that the Canadian's were training war beasts.
On the night of the 19th December 1941, the Battle of Lye Mun began. When a Japanese grenade was thrown at a section of Canadian soldiers, Sgt Gander picked up the grenade and ran away with it. The explosion killed him but his actions saved the lives of seven Canadian infanteers. It is for these actions that Sgt Gander was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal for Gallantry (the Victoria Cross for service animals) in 2000 and is remembered to this day.
A war dog does not always need to be in the heat of battle to perform its duty. Maximus is a 7 year old Siberian Husky service dog from Petawawa, ON and an absolute inspiration for us. His owner, Jill McLellan, retired from the Canadian Armed Forces as a Captain (Capt) shortly after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was at this point when Maximus became the gladiator he is today. Before even being trained, he knew what had to be done.
Figure 3: Maximus honouring his fellow soldiers at the memorial near the Petawawa Royal Canadian Legion.
Maximus honours and demonstrates what it means to be a hero. He provides Jill with the comfort and support she needs to get through each day. Incredibly, he is able to recognize and remove Capt (ret’d) McLellan from stressful situations but also gives her the space to be able to challenge herself. He is always close by and even when the vest comes off, he refuses to step away from his duty. His gentle nature and love of life lightens up every room he enters and it can be said that he is everyone's best friend. Perhaps most importantly, Maximus has given Jill the confidence and passion to help others with PTSD. Together, they have joined the ranks of Watch My 6 Service Dogs and train the next generation of PTSD service dogs. None of this would have been possible without the courage, loyalty, and dedication of Maximus. A true Canadian hero and war dog.
At Dog House Brewing Company, we salute warriors like Sgt Gander and Maximus for their sacrifices and service to our Nation. There are many more heroes like them across our great country and we are extremely proud to be able to honour them all with our pilsner, War Dog!