General George S. Patton's dog on the day of Patton's death on December 21st, 1945

General George S. Patton’s dog on the day of Patton’s death on December 21st, 1945

General George Patton led U.S. armies in World War II. He was notorious for his strong opinions and inability to avoid controversies. In life he was called “Old Blood and Guts.” His death has been a subject of mystery and intrigue. Although his commanding style was domineering, some might say bullying, and he had some definite anger management issues, General Patton was a devoted dog lover. He bought the first of many Bull Terriers for his daughters just after World War I. Although Tank turned out to be totally deaf, he always somehow knew when General Patton was to arrive home and met him at the front door.

He bought the famous Willie in 1944 and wrote about him: “…my bull pup . . . took to me like a duck to water. He is 15 months old, pure white except for a little lemin on his tail which to a cursory glance would seem to indicate that he had not used toilet paper. . .”. Willie was devoted to the General and followed him everywhere. General Patton doted on Willie and even threw a birthday party for him. The general wrote in his diary on July 15th, 1944: “Willie is crazy about me and almost has a fit when I come back to camp. He snores too and is company at night”. Sadly, one day before Patton was to return to the United States in December, 1945, he was involved in an automobile accident which broke his neck and he died a few days later. Willie was sent home to live out the rest of his life as the beloved dog of a fallen warrior with the General’s wife and daughters. This picture of Willie, a lost little dog, was taken a few days after the General’s death as preparations were made to send home his effects.

Cartoonist Bill Mauldin wrote: “Beside him, lying in a big chair was Willie, the bull terrier. If ever dog was suited to master this one was. Willie had his beloved boss’s expression and lacked only the ribbons and stars. I stood in that door staring into the four meanest eyes I’d ever seen.”