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Soldier Dogs Hardcover – March 15, 2012

165 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A moving portrait of the loyal, courageous, furry warriors who truly are an enlisted Man's Best Friend."

-People Magazine

Soldier Dogs is a fascinating book about the valiant things that military dogs do as told through the words of the soldiers who fight beside them. It also shows you how military service dogs are created, told through the words of the trainers and scientists who know the process. It is written in an easy and entertaining style and will acquaint you with dozens of canine heroes ranging from Stubby, who fought in WWI, to Cairo, who was a member of the raiding party that took down Osama Bin Laden. It is a great read for anyone who appreciates dogs and heroes.”
-Stanley Coren

“Inspiring personal stories of the many canine allies (and their handlers) who have dramatically enhanced military command units and examines how this indelible human-canine bond often transcends the atrocities of wartime violence.”
-Kirkus Reviews

"Stories of spooked pups aboard battle-bound Hueys and dogs in the line of fire reveal surprisingly human-like response to war, and posit these military mutts as admirable—and capable—soldiers. "
-Publishers Weekly

"If the idea of dogs at war conjures up thoughts of harsh methods and unrelenting discipline, think again. Maria Goodavage's revealing and engaging books exposes the unexpected trust and affection that flows both ways between dog and handler. You may already care about dogs: This book will heighten your respect for them."
-John Bradshaw, author of Dog Sense

About the Author

Maria Goodavage, a former reporter for USA Today and the San Francisco Chronicle, is the editor and featured writer for one of the most widely read dog blogs in the world, "For the Love of Dog" at She is the author of The Dog Lover's Companion to California and The Dog Lover's Companion to the San Francisco Bay Area. She coproduced and wrote an award-winning children's video about dogs and other animals, starring the voice of Ed Asner. She lives with her family in San Francisco, and the four-legged guy on their team is a Lab named Jake.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; 1 edition (March 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525952780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952787
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By wardawgs6 on March 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Excellent read...being a dog handler myself, this is one of the best depictions of what we do and the bond we have with our four legged partners. Reading this is a good reminder of why I became a handler and how important the working dog is in the safety and defense of America. It's good to know that these hero dogs are allowed to be adopted out into homes once they can no longer work too. It seems all the recent news stories about this dog Rex who was going to be euthanized because he couldn't work anymore were lies from the media. I'm sure he will be retired to a couch in no time after reading this book. Thanks for the honesty on what really goes on.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Wulfstan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
How can it miss? On one hand we have heartwarming tales of mans best friend, and on the other exciting war stories. Maria Goodavage is one of the best known dog blog and book writers, and now she turns her talents to a book with a larger audience (not that dog lovers are a tiny niche).

Brought to the fore (or is it "ripped from the headlines"?) by the story of Cairo, the dog who helped bring Osama to Justice, the author here tells a number of interesting and exciting "dog tails" <g>

It's also always nice also to have a author bring in a few personal notes and here the authors own pooch ("Jake") helps Maria tell the stories. Nice touch there.

Although the book does cover the history of dogs in the Military since WWI, the book concentrates on the recent Afghanistan conflict.

Since my Dad had the very rare MoS of "Dog Sled Driver" in the 10th Mountain in WWII, he also told me many "dog tales" (some of which did not have a happy ending). However, remembering his stories made this book ring all the more true.

If you're a dog lover or a war story reader, this book is a must get.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By James D. Crabtree VINE VOICE on March 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book! If you are interested in military working dogs then this is a book you'll want to read. If you AREN'T interested in military working dogs read this book... by the time you get through the first couple of chapters you'll be hooked.

Although written in a style which relies on a lot of first-hand observation and quotes from those who are involved in MWD it is a very engaging volume, providing information on how these dogs are bought, trained and deployed. Goodavage clearly loves dogs and it comes through in this work, which is why I think I enjoyed it so much. Who wants to read a book by someone who hates (or is just not into) the topic? I had seen these dogs in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East but now, thanks to Soldier Dogs, I think I have come to appreciate these working animals for the contribution that they make in finding EODs and providing security.

I bought this book at the PX on a whim and was glad I did!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By rck12 on March 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw the author interviewed on TV, and was impressed enough to order Soldier Dogs. This is an interesting book, which shows really how important these dogs are in saving lives, especially in Iraq/Afgan detecting IED explosives.

The bond between dog and soldier is heart warming to say the least, and the most poignant part is found in the last two paragraphs of chapter 7.

The book is rather short, and the 55 'snippet' chapters, are quickly filled with information, stories, facts, training, etc., which for the most part do not run into one another, and lend to putting down/picking up, without missing a beat in between.

The book made me proud of my Black Lab, Molly, even though she didn't serve. Semper Fi.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Wilson Trivino on March 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Writer Maria Goodavage has always had a love of dogs. After the biggest military operation in the modern war on terrorism revealed that one of the tools used to capture Osama Bin Laden was dogs, Goodavage sought to capture the contributions of these four legged heroes.

In Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America's Canine Heroes Goodavage does a great job of chronicling the use of dogs in the military. These furry soldiers are trained near San Antonio, Texas and are chose from a highly selective process. Even with their top notch training in assisting soldiers to keep them from harms way, they also serve companionship and a bit of a calming factor when in the war zone.

Goodavage dug deep into the bowels of this unknown area and found allies that granted her access to paint a full dimension portrait of these soldier dogs.
Not only did I learn about the dogs contributions but also some interesting facts about dogs. The complexity of their sense of smell and how these furry companions are able to do jobs that not even the most highly technical equipment can achieve.
This book is ideal for dog lovers and for those who want to simply learn more about dogs. It also pays homage to the many men and women who stand guard daily in foreign lands so that we may be enjoy the benefits of freedom.

To check out how you can learn about this issue and find ways you can help the cause of these soldier dogs visit: www (dot) soldierdogs (dot) com
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By KLG on March 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a remarkably touching story about the relationship between dogs and their handlers! Both 4-legged and 2-legged soldiers provide such a valuable service to our nation, displaying dignity, courage, and honor whether in a training or operational setting. Kudos to the author for this poignant portrayal of one of our military's noblest career fields.
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