Monday, October 15, 2012
If I don't go home for lunch, I usually grab several picture books/short nonfiction from the new book shelf for my lunchtime reading. If I'm not chatting with a coworker, I can usually look through 5-7 titles. Recently, not finding any picture books on the new shelf that I hadn't already read, I snapped up Dogs on Duty: Soldiers' Best Friends on the Battlefield and Beyond.
The history of military dogs is both amazing and heartbreaking. Although dogs were used in both world wars, their importance was ratcheted up during the Vietnam War, saving many lives in the process. Unfortunately, due to military proceedings at the time, many military dogs were left behind when American involvement in the Vietnam War ended. The importance of military dogs has increased exponentially with the United States's military engagements in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Author Dorothy Hinshaw Patent engagingly presents the dogs' extensive training and their variety of duties in modern day war. Readers are also treated to stories of individual dogs who have served in conflict. Most importantly, Patent movingly explores the deep bond handlers and dogs have with each other. Photographs are plentiful throughout the narrative, making the subject matter that much more intimate.
Dogs on Duty is perfect for dog lovers and readers interested in learning about a unique aspect of military life. Although some stories are inevitably sad, this is a positive and admiring look at the incredible ways dogs are used in wartime and peacetime efforts.