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Dog Digs Up Purple Heart [NEWS]

Matt Formica
Matt Formica

Mar 25, 2015

dog finds purple heart in backyard

Most dogs like to dig, but not many of them have been known to dig up Medals of Honor.

A dog in Stapleton, Colorado, a small town near Denver, dug up a Purple Heart in his owner's backyard, which had apparently belonged (belongs) to a Korean War Veteran.

And now the search is on to find the medal recipients friends and/or family.

"I was just trying to put the dirt back in the hole, when I saw something shiny and that was it," said Steve Jankousky, one of the dog's owners.  "And I went back inside and told [Tom], 'You're not going to believe what she dug up.'"

Tom and Steve are used to Smuckers, a golden retriever mix, digging up holes in the yard - but usually the neighbors aren't so happy about it - in this case, Smuckers did some amazing work - finding an actual Purple Heart, the military medal given to those wounded or killed in service of their country, at the bottom of a 10-inch hole.

According to Smuckers' owners, the medal was dug up years ago, but they had no way of contacting anyone related or close to the medals' owner.  Fast forward some years when they heard about the Vermont-based, non-profit "Purple Hearts Reunited," an organization founded by ex-military veterans to do just that - retrace the steps and stories of lost medals of honor and get them back to the recipients family.

"We see this all the time. It's a mystery," said Zachariah Fike, one of the founders of PHR. "Every medal has its own journey, and who knows how that medal got into the ground."

Turns out Smuckers dug the medal up just a few blocks away from the residence of the medal's recipient, Cpl. Richmond Litman, an African-American army soldier who served in the Korean War.  According to, "He earned his Purple Heart there in 1950" and "is buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery, along with his wife, Ida."

So the search for Litman's surviving family continues...

Good girl, Smuckers!!

To find out more information on Purple Heart's Reunited, go to

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