Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle by Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery |, NOOK Book (NOOK Kids eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle

Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle

4.5 103
by Brian Dennis, Mary Nethery, Kirby Larson

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Nubs, an Iraqi dog of war, never had a home or a person of his own. He was the leader of a pack of wild dogs living off the land and barely surviving. But Nubs's life changed when he met Marine Major Brian Dennis. The two formed a fast friendship, made stronger by Dennis's willingness to share his meals, offer a warm place to sleep, and give Nubs the kind of care and


Nubs, an Iraqi dog of war, never had a home or a person of his own. He was the leader of a pack of wild dogs living off the land and barely surviving. But Nubs's life changed when he met Marine Major Brian Dennis. The two formed a fast friendship, made stronger by Dennis's willingness to share his meals, offer a warm place to sleep, and give Nubs the kind of care and attention he had never received before. Nubs became part of Dennis's human "pack" until duty required the Marines to relocate a full 70 miles away--without him. Nubs had no way of knowing that Marines were not allowed to have pets.

So began an incredible journey that would take Nubs through a freezing desert, filled with danger to find his friend and would lead Dennis on a mission that would touch the hearts of people all over the world.

Nubs and Dennis will remind readers that friendship has the power to cross deserts, continents, and even species.

Editorial Reviews

Nubs was a homeless mutt, a mongrel victim of the Iraqi war and the leader of a pack of wild dogs scavenging garbage heaps for survival. That dicey life changed with his first encounter with Marine Major Brian Dennis. Soldier and canine quickly formed a strong bond, giving Nubs not only much-needed food and shelter but also affection. That respite ended when duty called and Major Dennis was assigned to a post 70 miles away and ordered to leave without Nubs. This is story of how Nubs countermanded that order and reunited with his kind protector. An inspiring gift for anyone who believes in the power of a dog's love.
Publishers Weekly
Larson and Nethery, who collaborated on Two Bobbies, team up with Dennis to tell the moving story of the Marine major’s friendship with a wild dog he befriended at a border fort in Iraq. Dennis named the dog Nubs because his “ears had been cut off to make him a dog of war” (a statement never explained). Though Nubs futilely attempts to follow Dennis when he departs the fort, the two grow closer on subsequent visits, until the dog (now wounded) treks 70 miles through the snow to find Dennis. When the major is ordered to “get rid of the dog, or else,” he raises money to have Nubs transported to his San Diego hometown, where human and dog eventually reunite. Some spreads feel cluttered with narrative passages, e-mail sidebars, and multiple images; the photographs, gleaned from several sources, are of varying quality and resolution (understandable given the circumstances under which most were taken). But these do not diminish the emotional impact of the saga, which should appeal to fans of Owen and Mzee and other stories of animals that triumph against the odds. Ages 3–up. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Kris Sauer
This story is one to warm your heart! Marine Major Brian Dennis is leading a Border Transition Team platoon to a fort in the desert of western Iraq in late 2007 when an earless dog befriends him. Since the team is there to help train Iraqi soldiers across the area, they soon pack up and move on. Nubs, the name given the dog by Major Dennis, chased after the Humvees with his pack but soon lost the soldiers in the desert. Months later, Dennis's team returns and Nubs is there to greet him. This time, upon the unit's departure, Nubs is determined not to be left behind. Despite an injury that left him weak, and in spite of the winter weather and rough terrain, Nubs tracks Dennis seventy miles from Iraq to the Jordanian border. Although the Marines are not allowed to have pets, Dennis and his team take in this amazing dog and give him a home at Command Outpost. Word soon reaches Dennis's superiors and he is given an order to get rid of the dog within four days. What ensues is yet another amazing odyssey as Dennis solicits family and friends, raising enough money to send Nubs home to San Diego, California. Actual photographs of Nubs and Dennis in Iraq help tell the tale, along with snippets of Dennis's emails back home. In a time of war, this book tells a story of hope, of how an act of kindness is never forgotten. A great read-aloud, this could easily supplement classroom discussion of current events, or help a class with personal connections discuss and find hope in the continuing events occurring in Iraq. Reviewer: Kris Sauer
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—A true story of a feral dog from Iraq that found a home in the United States. In October 2007, Border Transition Team 3/5/2 arrived at the border of Iraq and Syria. The team members were greeted by a pack of wild dogs, whose leader became known as "Nubs" because of his docked ears. He developed a bond with Dennis, and as the troops would come and go over the course of several weeks, they were always greeted by the dogs. Nubs exhibited signs of malnutrition and abuse yet he continued to seek food and companionship from the Marines, often trying to follow them when they'd leave. In December 2007, when they relocated to the Jordanian border, 70 miles away, he embarked on a treacherous journey across the desert and, two days later, walked into the camp. Because Marine regulations prohibit the keeping of pets in a war zone, Major Dennis and his men collected donations and arranged to send Nubs to the United States. He was eventually reunited with the dog in 2008. The narrative, which sometimes lacks clarity, includes a substantial amount of original documentation—photos taken by members of the 3/5/2, emails from Dennis to his friends in San Diego, and copies of the State Department "passport" allowing Nubs to travel. This is a feel-good entry in the current trend of inspirational true animal stories.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Major Dennis discovered Nubs, a mongrel with hacked-off ears, at a border fort in Iraq while serving there in the Marine Corps. Although he visited the fort infrequently and stayed only a few days at a time, Dennis and the feral dog bonded as the soldier shared his food and bed with the loyal animal. Often they even stood guard duty together. One winter day, when the Marines traveled 70 miles north across the frigid desert to headquarters, Nubs followed, arriving there, thin and footsore, two days later. Determined not to leave him behind again, the Marines adopted him, and eventually Dennis raised the money to have Nubs shipped back to America. Few will not be moved by the concluding photograph. Told in brief text augmented by Dennis's facsimile e-mails and illustrated with clear color photos, this story presents a view of the Iraq war that makes it accessible to very young gradeschoolers, a welcome addition to collections serving that audience and especially useful for children of soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Informational picture book. 5-12)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Hachette Digital, Inc.
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44 MB
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Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Brian Dennis is the major in the Marines. He and Nubs live in San Diego.

Kirby Larson is the acclaimed author of the 2007 Newbery Honor book, Hattie Big Sky. Her most recent title is Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival, co-written with Mary Nethery. Kirby lives in Kenmore, Washington.

Mary Nethery is the author of many picture books, including Hannah and Jack, Mary Veronica's Egg, andOrange Cat Goes to Market.Mary lives in Eureka, California.

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