A Great Dane named Juliana was awarded a medal during WWII.

  • Juliana the Great Dane
Juliana the Great Dane
Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix/ Alamy Stock Photo

Animals have played pivotal roles on the front lines of many battles throughout history. Horses, elephants, and even dolphins have been employed for their strength, intelligence, and adaptability. During World War II, one brave animal stood out as a hero for using an unlikely defense tactic against the enemy: her urine. Juliana was the name of a Great Dane who had even greater instincts. In April 1941, amid the ongoing German bombing campaign known as the Blitz, explosives rained down across the U.K. When a bomb fell through the roof of the house where Juliana lived with her owner, the fast-acting pooch made her way over to the incendiary device and extinguished its flame by urinating on it. Juliana’s bravery earned her a medal from the Blue Cross, a U.K. animal welfare charity.

Juliana’s story came to light years later when a portrait of the plucky pup was found at a property belonging to a relative of Juliana’s owner — a plaque affixed to the painting told her unlikely tale. Elsewhere in the house, a Blue Cross Medal with the dog’s name was also discovered, and in an even more surprising turn, this one happened to be for a second heroic achievement. In 1944, three years after defusing a bomb, Juliana saved her owner’s life once again, when she managed to alert him to the fire that was tearing through his shoe shop. In 2013, the mementos were sold at auction for £1,100, or about $1,900 today. 

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