In 1941, Martin Bormann, Hitler’s gray eminence, gave his fuehrer a shepherd bitch named Blondi. Hitler immediately took the dog to his heart, enjoying especially his time teaching Blondi tricks. Blondi traveled with the fuehrer wherever he went throughout the Reich, sleeping in his room and having an army sergeant, Tornow, detailed to take care of her at all times.
During the most dire military crises, Hitler would take breaks from his staff meetings to walk Blondi and put her through her tricks. Watching her climb a steep ladder gave him the most pleasure. When the dog performed well, the general staff could expect the fuehrer to be in a much better mood.
As the Reich was collapsing, the Russian army heading toward Berlin, Blondi went with Hitler to the bunker beneath the Chancellery garden.
Blondi by this time had been mated with another purebred shepherd and had a litter of five puppies, which lived in a special kennel in the bunker. One puppy, named Wolf, was Hitler’s favorite. No one was allowed to touch him and as the military situation grew more dismal, Hitler used the dog - stroking him and repeatedly murmuring his name - to calm himself.
But hysterically afraid of being captured by the Russians, Hitler planned his own suicide. As the end neared, Hitler heard that even Himmler had turned traitor, opening negotiations with the Allies.
The cyanide which Himmler’s S.S. had provided for the fuehrer’s suicide was now highly suspect. Thinking it was just a knockout drug - so that Hitler could be taken east and displayed in a cage in Moscow - he needed proof that the drug would work.
So Blondi performed one last act of service for the Reich. Sergeant Tornow and Hitler’s doctor took the dog into the bathroom. There they pried her jaws open and crammed a poison ampule down her throat. With pliers, the doctor squeezed, releasing the cyanide.
Hitler inspected Blondi to make sure she was dead. The cyanide was genuine, and highly effective.
Soon afterward, Sergeant Tornow was ordered to shoot the puppies, even Wolf.