DENVER - October 10, 2013
Books, books and more books. We're big readers at my house; Marianne reads most anything, John is fond of mysteries and science fiction/fantasy, Mina likes biographies, Meryl tends to favor Peanuts comics, and the cats prefer travel books with glossy photos.
But me? I like books about DOGS, especially REAL DOGS, so imagine how pleased I was to be asked to review two of well-known author Lisa Rogak's books: Dogs of Courage and Dogs of War.
Lisa writes exceptionally well, and she truly knows her subject matter. In addition to general useful information, Lisa sneaks in tasty tidbits of trivia. For instance, Florence Nightingale said, "A small pet is often an excellent companion for the sick, for long chronic cases especially." Did you know that that Sigmund Freud used his dog Yofi in his work with patients, or that the first recorded instance of pet therapy for mentally ill patients was in England in the 1700's? Did you know that Military Working Dogs are assigned real ranks, just like soldiers? Pretty cool, huh? Lisa scatters all kinds of fascinating facts throughout both books, plus sidebar stories and color photos of real dogs in action.
Dogs of Courage is about working dogs like I hope to be someday. There are chapters on various sub-specialties like police dogs, fire dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, therapy dogs, medical detection dogs, service and guide dogs, and wildlife-detection and conservation dogs. Even if you think you know all the jobs a dog can do, I bet you'll be surprised at how talented and versatile my colleagues are. It makes me proud, it does.
Dogs of War tells the stories of dogs who serve various functions in the military, from sniffing out bombs to delivering medical supplies to soldiers in the field. Honestly, I had a harder time reading this book; these dogs are so incredibly brave and they do some really scary things. Marianne likes to say I'm "bomb-proof" in public, but she means I don't freak out if someone drops a dish on the floor. I think if someone set off a real bomb near me I'd be screaming like a little puppy and looking for the nearest bed to hide under! But the Military Working Dogs? They don't flinch or run or stop doing whatever task they're working on. Some even skydive! Honestly? Some days the car seems too high off the ground for jumping into, so I can't imagine what I'd do if I was expected to jump out of a plane. I don't think people understand how valuable Military Working Dogs are, or how much their partners depend on them. I am humbled by their service.
Four Paws Up for Dogs of Courage and Dogs of War by Lisa Rogak! I suggest you fetch both books at once from your favorite independent bookseller.
Chow for now!