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on September 18, 2012
"Faithful friends" is a book which compiles several stories from different countries during WWII. The main perspective (which I never considered before reading this) is what happened to many pets who belonged to the victims and targets of the nazis. As the owner of a dog, I can imagine the pain that those persons suffered when they had to abandon their friends, and the sadness of the pets watching their family go and hope to return in a few hours, days, weeks, years...
I felt happy when I read some stories that ended with the reunion of the pets and the owners, but also felt sad reading about the constant concern of the people for their pets and only to find out that those faithful friends died in really bad conditions.

I highly recommend this wonderful book. It's incredible the loyalty and love that a pet can show us everyday, but also gives us hope when we find out that many people don't abandon their pets, even when they've lost everything and everyone else.
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on January 28, 2013
For many Jews, and I'm among them, discussion of the Holocaust is fruitless. It never stops hurting and it's too awful to comprehend, no matter how many stories you hear from survivors. We need to remember it and forever repeat our mantra, "Never again." But the suffering was and is too deep and too vast. One cannot make sense of it, and for good reason. So what's the point of more stories?

Susan Bulanda has a good answer: there are aspects of the Holocaust that remain to be discovered,and some are relentlessly life affirming. One such aspect is the bond between the victims and their pets, some of whom found a way to survive until their owners could find them again after the war.

In "Faithful Friends" Bulanda tells stories that take place throughout Western, Central, and Eastern Europe. From Holland to Poland, from France to Yugoslavia, families were forcibly separated from their beloved pets by Nazi soldiers. Some managed to leave their animals with friends and neighbors, while others gasped in horror while the family dog raced frantically after the speeding train that would carry them to camps. After the war, some managed to find their pets again, though often they were injured, starving and wild. Others discovered that their dog or cat had died, often refusing to leave what was left of the family home.

But behind every story there's a gift, regardless of the outcome. Throughout the years of terror and deprivation, every narrator thought constantly about the family pet, wondering, hoping, remembering the good times when snuggles and play were abundant. The memories served to sustain the victims in a couple of ways. First, worrying about the dog was a welcome distraction from the constant fear about what would become of oneself. Throughout that dark night of the human soul, some were able to care about something beyond their personal misery,and it eased the suffering just a little bit. In addition, there was hope, and the thought that one had to survive in order to get back home and rescue the family dog from whatever had befallen it. These are the strands that unite a Resistance fighter and her bulldog Nicholas from Cavalere-sur-Mer in the south of France, with a little girl from a Romanian shtetle who loved to play with her family's three terrier mixes. Like all of the narrators of Bulanda's stories, both were able to hang on through times when life hardly seemed worth living, in part because they hoped to see their dogs again.

The beauty of these stories of suffering is that even in the most dire circumstances, there was more than just the horror. For many pet owners, there was the ability to continuing to care and feel concern; there was the ineradicable bond between animal and human, and no one could take that away. The gift of reading the stories is that we discover that just as the hope of being reunited with family sustained some, the devotion of pets safeguarded their humanity for others.
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on June 21, 2012
Shortly after getting a Kindle Touch (my first Kindle), I saw this book offered for free and grabbed it. Not only was it about animals, one of my lifelong passions, but also about the Holocaust, another strong interest. I feel fortunate to have found this book, which contains stories from pet owners/survivors of 7 countries invaded by Germany. Susan Bulanda first gives a short timeline of the Holocaust, then for each country goes into more detail about the events there. These details are a good reminder of what the inhabitants went through.

Each survivor story shows how much the people loved and cared for their pets, tried to protect them from harm, and tried to provide enough food for the animals even if the people went without. In some cases the dogs reciprocated by protecting their owners from harm.

The story tellers also talked about how painful it was to leave their pets behind when they had to leave their home, not knowing if they would ever be able to return. Some were lucky enough to find their pets when the war was over.

I can't imagine how difficult it was to see your fur children suffer because of lack of food, medical care, or anything else humans normally provide their companions. I often tell my two cats how lucky they are to be inside when it's freezing outside and to have enough food and love. Now I have even more to remind them about. LOL

Highly recommended!
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on March 15, 2012
What an incredible book! The stories of the survivors, and their love for their four-footed friends, are sure to bring a tear to any animal lover's eye. I can't imagine the pain that the humans, cats, and dogs went through in such horrific times. Truly I believe it is the examples of our four-footed friends that give us the best of being human. They certainly give us hope.

Thank you for collecting and sharing these stories.

I've deducted one star because the publisher really should have caught the formatting (at least in the Kindle edition) and spelling errors.
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on July 7, 2015
deeply emotional, heartbreaking in tragedy of the holocaust, yet endearing. These pets of the holocaust victims lift they're hearts, giving them courage and hope of survival. A must read for animal lovers. Well written, and poignant in its nature, this book will lift your spirits to know when faced with tragedy you can overcome, and find loyalty, love, and hope from these miraculous animals.
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on April 14, 2012
Faithful friends tells the untold stories that have been over looked - the stories of the very loved pets. Through no fault of the owners or the very much loved pets some dreadfully sad stories about abandoned pets. Certainly shows the love and loyalty of family pets. The reader is shown how cruel the war was to not only people but also much loved pets. Highly recommend this book but have tissues handy it is very sad.
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on September 5, 2011
Susan Bulanda discovered a facet of the Holocaust that had not been told before. Her solid reputation in the k9 world and skills as good listener allowed her to collect this precious testimony and finally give a voice to the pets of the Holocaust and their remaining family members. Thank you, Susan, for (yet another) job well done.

Amir Findling and SAR-K9s Chip, Radar, Sonar and Stryder
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on June 18, 2012
i never thought too much about the pets either. Being a huge lover of pets and farm aminals too. I really found this an interesting, happy and yes, sad book. If you have ever had a special four pawed family member I am sure you will love this book. Good background information about the war in the various countries too. Only 4 stars because it let me wanting more.
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on August 8, 2015
This book is the most fascinating book I've ever read. I've been reading about the Holocaust for 28 years and never seen a book about the pets left behind. I had this book read in one sitting. Just couldn't put it down
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on May 11, 2013
This book made me cry!! I don't know what I would do if I had to leave him. I imagine and pray that we are reunited with our pets for eternity.
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