In Part 1, we featured the three dogs that appeared in class photos from No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) at Sky Harbour, Goderich. Today is a somber post about a dog that was killed by one of the guards. On February 29, 1944, a letter ran in the Sky Harbour Taurus lamenting the shooting of a stray dog that many students treated as a pet. Two issues later, a response was published outlining the guard’s side of the story. The Taurus was a newsletter that was “casually and spasmodically” published at No. 12 EFTS, and usually featured a mix of informative and humourous content related to life on base. The two letters are reproduced below. For those who are not in the mood for a sad dog story, here is a pin-up girl from the back cover of Taurus instead.
–TRANSCRIPT– Sky Harbour Taurus Vol. 1 Copy 8 Feb. 29, 1944 EDITORIAL MASCOTS All the famous Guards Regiments, from the Coldstream to the Scots, have mascots – for one a goat, for another a terrier. There is, however, another type of Guard who expresses his whimsical humour and human affection by having as his mascot a dead dog framed in a garbage can. This would seem to mark the modern service man’s trend away from sentimentality towards bold surrealism. The mascot is allowed to live for several months, enjoying the simple company of ratings. This companionship appears to make the dog ferocious, wild and thoroughly wolf-like, so one fine night a shot rings out and within a few hours the mascot, comparatively dead, starts his initiation drag toward the Garbage Bin. The whole ceremony is informal but as we watched we made one observation: it would be unwise to become inebriated at night and attempt to find your barracks on all fours!!! Such a Guard should have the decency and common-sense to refrain from such a revolting action, but, if necessary, should do it in a more modern and humane manner. It is not known why this particular Guard, at this particular time, chose to destroy our pal in such a wanton way. We are only human in the Service and we enjoy the companionship of our dumb friends. No better friend has a man than he to whom a dog confides his trust. When a trusting dog takes a whole group as his friends and protectors, it gladdens the hearts of those far from home. WE LOVED OUR DOG.
–TRANSCRIPT– Sky Harbour Taurus Vol. 1 Copy 10 March 14th, 1944 EDITORIAL In line with the policy of “Taurus” to print the truth, we edited an article in these columns some time ago entitled “Mascots.” This article dealt with the destruction of a dog which had more or less been adopted by the students of Sky Harbour. Also in line with our policy of giving every consideration to matters of dispute, we are below running another article entitled “Mascots”. Both this and the original “Mascots” are contributed articles, and should not be taken as totally indicative of our sentiments. However, at the time of the other article beting submitted, the editor personally made enquiries at the Guard House, from individual Guards and from the Captain of the Guards. All professed to be totally in the dark both as to the shooting of the dog as well as to the reason why. Enquiries were also made of the Management and our informatino was that there had been no complaints about the dog so far as the Management knew. Now, if, as the article below charges, we ran a misleading Editorial, we can only leave the reader to draw his own conclusions. — MASCOTS (Published as received) In a recent issue of Taurus a very interesting and to say the least a misleading editorial appeared entitled Mascots. We readily believe such famous guards as are mentioned have their own mascots, so have the guards at Sky Harbour and the writer of the editorial “Mascots” might be one of them. Now as to the true facts of the case referred to in the editorial, the first duty of the guards at Sky Harbour is to safeguard the Personnell who are on the station; secondly to protect the property of the station. Some weeks ago a dog strayed on the station he was not a savage wolf like animal he was adopted by the students here. They allowed this dog priviliges which no management which looks after the well being of its personnel would allow. Numerous complaints were made to the guards, after a complaint had been made to the guards about this dog, the boy were asked who owned him. No one claimed him not even as a mascot, a warning was then given them that the dog must be tied or he would have to be destroyed. No action was taken, and on this particular saturday night when he attacked a civilian he was destroyed by on of the guards, not in a brutal inhuman way but in as human a way possible. What better time to do it than at midnight and in an atea which is out of bounds to students at that time. The guards at Sky Harbour are human, we also love animals and we agree with the writer of Mascots that a dog is man’s best friend, but when a dog tries to become Master of the man he is no longer a friend. The guards at Sky Harbour have duties to perform. We have realized for some time that we were not a popular department of the Station, but the writer of Mascots implies that we are neither decent nor human but at any rate this is our side of this particular incident.