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Comfort and Caring

Hi, I am Win the bear. I discovered this First World War cap badge for the 228th Canadian Overseas Battalion that has a bear similar to me on it.

Fighting in the First World War was very dangerous and, sadly, more than 66,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders died. Wow, that is like the population of some cities! In addition to risking their lives and losing their friends, soldiers really missed their families at home. To help get through the tough times, the men and women often had pets to play with. My great-great-grandmother Winnie was a bear mascot in the First World War that entertained the troops. She even inspired the famous character Winnie the Pooh!

Canadian Nurse giving her pet Nero cream. June 1918.
(Photo: Library and Archives Canada 3194336)

Pets and mascots provided love and comfort. Purring cats and dogs with wagging tails gave the clear message of “I’m really happy to see you!” which made many Canadians serving far from home feel better. Just caring for these animals by feeding and washing them took soldiers’ minds off the war, if only for a moment.

Win the bear
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