Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: War Dogs by Rebecca Frankel



Those of us who know and love dogs are only too familiar with what dogs do for humans. They are more than companions; they help lower our blood pressure, assist the blind and disabled, work with the Police and with people with emotional issues. And then there are the dogs who go to war, military in every way.

Rebecca Frankel, Senior Editor, Special Projects at Foreign Policy has been writing a weekly column, appearing each Friday, called War Dog of The Week, which has led to her just-released book, War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love

Author Rebecca Frankel


It's not often that we see this sort of look at at these brave dogs from the mascots of the Civil War to Military Dogs on patrol from Vietnam to Iraq, as real members of the military. Only these dogs are not volunteers. Their lives are on the line just as much as any other member of the armed forces and many have lost their lives, others have been left behind like old, discarded military equipment instead of the living, breathing sentient beings that they are, forming tight bonds with their human partner and giving their all under orders.

These dogs have traditionally been trained using aversive methods which, of course, does not please me. That aside (and for me it's a huge effort to put that aside), these intelligent living, breathing sentient beings use all of their senses, bravery and intelligence, which is extraordinary. 

Combat Tracker Dog Lex - who loves
attention - enjoys some free time with
his handler, Marine Lance Corporal,
John Peeler. Photo by Rebecca Frankel
Within the pages of War Dogs you'll meet these courageous dogs and their handlers who form a working team with an extraordinary bond. Frankel brings them to us, chronicling their careers as only a savvy reporter on the ground can do.  It's impossible to single out just one story for attention because each is unique and every reader will find favorites among these brave warriors who, today, are even parachuting over targets with their partner, wearing special equipment. We got a hint of this when the story came out about Osama bin Laden's capture with a specially trained military dog an important member of the team.

While definitely non-fiction, it occasionally reads like fiction. You are not likely to forget the dogs and their partners who make up this military book.

Photographs show these special dogs throughout the years.

You won't regret the time spent with War Dogs which was released on October 14th. 

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Fehringer
guides  MWD (Military Working Dog)
Suk, across the obedience course at Cannon
Air Force Base, New Mexico on August 15, 2012.
Photo by Airman First Class Xavier Lockley

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love is 242 pages, List price is $26.00 It is available wherever books are sold.  Here's a link for easy online purchase:   


Note: I was not compensated financially for this review.  I received only a bound galley of the book to read in oder to review it.

1 comment:

Vallie Szymanski said...

This is one of the best books I have read about the role of the military working dog. Many interesting segments but most
meaningful and "gut wrenching" was chapter 8 - wounds and healing and the work that Army Captain Cecilia
Najera and her combat-trained therapy dog Boe.