June 14, 2012

Book Review: Soldier Dogs

Cpl. Aaron Diamant
Desert Warrior Staff

‘Soldier Dogs, The untold story of America’s canine heroes,’ by Maria Goodavage, can almost be summed up in the title.

People Magazine called it, “A moving portrait of the loyal, courageous, furry warriors who truly are enlisted man’s best friend.”

Coming into writing this review, I felt there wasn’t much I could say about this book that hasn’t already been said, after all, it IS a New York Times best seller.

What I can say, as I read the book, it felt as if Goodavage herself was telling me the story, not a dry, stuffy, scientific research paper, but almost a conversation among friends. The words seemed to form in my head in what I can only imagine was her voice.

Goodavage is no stranger to writing about man’s best friend, but is not a current or former military working dog handler. Like many of us, she started as a curious outsider, but was given access to some of the military’s top programs for military working dogs and their handlers for her research into this delightful book, including a top-of-the-line course taught here in Yuma.

It’s an inside look into what makes these dogs and their handlers so special, important and necessary to today’s military. It humanizes the canine warriors, but also relates them to the furry creatures many of us have roaming our homes.

I’m almost at a loss for words when it comes to my adoration of military working dogs, and I feel this book sheds some much-needed and well-deserved light on what these devoted animals and handlers do on a daily basis.

I can’t recommend picking this book up and reading it enough, and to be honest, that’s really saying something coming from me. It’s the first book I’ve actually finished in quite a long time.

Talking to Goodavage, it sounds like she has another military working dog project in the works. I look forward to reading it!

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