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Always Faithful: A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII Paperback – October 1, 2003


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Always Faithful: A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII + War Dogs: A History of Loyalty and Heroism + The Dogs of War: The Courage, Love, and Loyalty of Military Working Dogs
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; Reprint edition (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157488719X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574887198
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A retired Marine Corps captain and veterinarian, Putney writes a moving and heartrending account of his days as commander of the 3rd Marine War Dog Platoon, in which some 72 dogs and their handlers were his responsibility. The dogs and handlers trained in scouting, mine detection, and other patrol duties and went into combat together. Here we read about Peppy, Big Boy, and Lady and a host of other courageous dogs who lived and died during some of the worst fighting of the war. Putney takes the reader through basic training and the battles of Guadalcanal and the retaking of the island of Guam in 1944. He continues the story of how those dogs that survived the war were retrained and returned to civilian life. For veterans and dog owners, the stories of heroism and death may be dreadful, but they are a reminder of the sacrifices needed to obtain victory in World War II. A unique animal and war story, this memoir is a tribute to all who cherish the loyalty and bonds that dogs give their owners. Recommended for all public libraries. David Alperstein, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Retired veterinarian Putney is also a decorated World War II veteran whose primary service was helping organize the Marine War Dog Corps, which trained nearly a thousand dogs, mostly Doberman pinschers, as scouts, messengers, and alarm givers. Many of the dogs saw combat, especially on Guam, where then captain Putney won a Purple Heart and Silver Star fighting the Japanese, with and without dogs. More than 500 canine survivors were successfully demilitarized and returned to civilian life, and more than half of those became companions of the marines they had accompanied in battle--results that Putney counts as one of his finest achievements. An exceptionally clear writer, Putney is compassionate for his fellow marines of both species, except when some of them proved more dangerous to the dog platoons than the Japanese were. A valuable addition to the historiography of military animals, World War II, and the marines. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Must read for dog lovers and wwii buffs.
Fredrick krohn
I learned a great deal about Marine Corps War Dogs and the War Dog program.
jobyf
A very well written and researched book.
Bob George

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By "jackiesdog" on October 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was on Guam in 1994 during the 50th anniversary of Guam's liberation. Dr. Putney came for the occasion, and for the dedication of the War Dog Memorial. Dr. Putney was instrumental in making the beautiful memorial site, with sculptor Susan Bahary Wilner's "Always Faithful" statue of dog Kurt, a reality. There are web pages about the memorial, which is not actually located at the dog gravesite but at the Navy base for safekeeping. Dr. Putney has done all of us a great service by so realistically telling how valuable dogs have been to our liberty. He speaks from a heart that has been dedicated to those dogs for over 50 years. Thank you, Dr. Putney.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By David W. Campbell on April 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the book because of the amazing details that accompany each episode of the book from the training at Camp Lejeune to the battles at Guam. What really jumps out for the reader is the challenges to train the dogs and the critical role they played in WWII. The war scenes on Guam are realistic and the deaths of the dogs touch the reader's heart. Yet there are triumphs of the spirit as the dog's prove themselves over and over again. There are several humorous scenes that occur during training and at other times in the book that provide a laugh including the several scenes at Camp Pendleton. You find yourself lost in Dr Putney's journey that leaves one turning the pages to "see what happens next!" Truely a vital testament to the Marine War Dogs of WWII and those who pay them tribute! Bravo Zulu! A great read!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Brady L. Buchanan on September 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A pretty crummy title for a very good book...but a there is a reason for it. This is a complete story of the beginning, the middle(WW II), and the end of a project that took a long time to get started and was so successful...so compelling so... that it was permanently disbanded after WW II. This is the story of the relationship of a dog to its master as applied during time of war and how thousands of lives were saved because of the talents of the dogs and their trainers and masters.
To quote from the book, "By 1946 military brass had decided to stop recruiting dogs from the civilian population....The war dog program fell into chaos and the Quartermaster Corps declared that it was discontinuing forever the K-9 Corps." This points out the absolute stupidity of "authority." If you read this book you will be uplifted with a loving emotion and learn why dogs are so effective in war and then discover the total stupidity of those bound to stop such an effective program. It is beyond human comprehension. You will enjoy this book!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. E. W. Turner on July 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Dr. Putney's memoir of the dog companies on Guam is a very interesting read regarding one of the more forgotten fighting units of the war. These were civilian dogs enlisted for war, trained for war, and then re-trained for civilian life. It was a great testament of the versatility of dogs that they could go from the horrors of war back into civilian life as well as the intelligence of the men returning from that war that they were able to return these dogs to their civilian lives. Why was that lesson forgotten? Why were the military dogs of the Vietnam Era left behind and not returned to civilian life? Why did it take until President Clinton for the military dogs to be once again allowed to retire to civilian life? It doesn't make much sense to me.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles Norton on January 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Without any doubt, the best history of war dogs I have read. Always Faithful (Semper Fidelis) is the author's personal history of his experience as a Marine Corps war dog platoon commander in WWII. William (Bill) Putney, "Put" to his colleagues was a board certified veterinarian assigned to the newly formed war dog platoon. Putney details the history from the training of both dogs and handlers to the crucible of combat in the liberation of Guam in 1944. There was no existing Marine Corps K9 operations doctrine. Therefore Putney had to develop both doctrine and build confidence in operational commanders on K9 capabilities. He provides detailed and vivid descriptions of the famed "Devil Dogs" in combat against the Japanese. Always Faithful provides first person accounts of the sacrfices made by both handler and dog in the liberation of Guam. There are occasional tidbits of humor, specifically the reaction of a Doberman when given K-Rations by its handler. Bill Butney received a Bronze Star with Combat "V" and a Purple Heart. He retired from the Marine Corps as a Captain and began a successful veterinary practice in San Diego. He was the moving force in the restoration of the War Dog Memorial on Guam dedicated to the many dogs killed in action. Before his death in 2003, Bill worked tirelessly to support passage of the Presidential Executive order which insured that veteran war dogs would be returned to the United States.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The Free Press on July 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"A heart-rending story of courage and loyalty that should be celebrated." --LEON URIS, author of BATTLE CRY and EXODUS
"Putney's book is an up-close view of the hell of war that William Tecumseh Sherman described. It's also the heartfelt evidence of the bonding between man and dog and the mother of all the heroic dog stories you've ever heard." --LEATHERNECK
"I can scarcely remember ever being so taken with a book as I was with Always Faithful." --ELIZABETH MARSHALL THOMAS, author of THE HIDDEN LIFE OF DOGS
"Always Faithful is a powerful tribute to the bond between the marines of WWII and their dogs, told by the author who experienced it firsthand." --DOG AND KENNEL
"A unique animal and war story, this memoir is a tribute to all who cherish the loyalty and bonds that dogs give their owners." --LIBRARY JOURNAL
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