A compelling look at the important role that dogs have played in America's most recent military conflicts, replete with the touching stories of individual dogs and their handlers/soldiers
Under the cover of night, deep in the desert of Afghanistan, a US Army handler led a Special Forces patrol with his military working dog. Without warning an insurgent popped up, his weapon raised. At the handler's command, the dog charged their attacker. There was the flash of steel, the blur of fur, and the sound of a single shot; the handler watched his dog take a bullet. During the weeks it would take the dog to heal, the handler never left its side. The dog had saved his life.
Loyal and courageous, dogs are truly man's best friend on the battlefield. While the soldiers may not always feel comfortable calling the bond they form love, the emotions involved are strong and complicated. In War Dogs, Rebecca Frankel offers a riveting mix of on-the-ground reporting, her own hands-on experiences in the military working dog world, and a look at the science of dogs' special abilitiesfrom their amazing noses and powerful jaws to their enormous sensitivity to the emotions of their human companions.
The history of dogs in the US military is long and rich, from the spirit-lifting mascots of the Civil War to the dogs still leading patrols hunting for IEDs today. Frankel not only interviewed handlers who deployed with dogs in wars from Vietnam to Iraq, but top military commanders, K-9 program managers, combat-trained therapists who brought dogs into war zones as part of a preemptive measure to stave off PTSD, and veterinary technicians stationed in Bagram. She makes a passionate case for maintaining a robust war-dog force. In a post-9/11 world rife with terrorist threats, nothing is more effective than a bomb-sniffing dog and his handler.
With a compelling cast of humans and animals, this moving book is a must read for all dog loversmilitary and otherwise.
About the Author
Table of Contents
Foreword Thomas E. Ricks ix
Author's Note xiii
Introduction: Dogs in the Time of War 1
1 When Dogs Become Soldiers 11
2 The House of Misfit Dogs 31
3 The Trouble with Loving a War Dog 53
4 Beware the Loving (War) Dog 73
5 A Dog of Many Talents 93
6 The Road to War Leads Through Yuma 127
7 The Fallen 165
8 Wounds and Healing 183
9 The Never Again Wars 205
10 Home Again, Home Again 213
Epilogue: What We Talk about When We Talk about War Dogs 227