Saturday, March 31, 2012

DOGABLY PAWFECT BOOKS

A leading reporter offers a tour of military working dogs' extraordinary training, heroic accomplishments, and the lasting impacts they have on those who work with them.


People all over the world have been riveted by the story of Cairo, the Belgian Malinois who was a part of the Navy SEAL team that led the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. A dog's natural intelligence, physical abilities, and pure loyalty contribute more to our military efforts than ever before. You don't have to be a dog lover to be fascinated by the idea that a dog-the cousin of that furry guy begging for scraps under your table-could be one of the heroes who helped execute the most vital and high-tech military mission of the new millennium.


Now Maria Goodavage, editor and featured writer for one of the world's most widely read dog blogs, tells heartwarming stories of modern soldier dogs and the amazing bonds that develop between them and their handlers. Beyond tales of training, operations, retirement, and adoption into the families of fallen soldiers, Goodavage talks to leading dog-cognition experts about why dogs like nothing more than to be on a mission with a handler they trust, no matter how deadly the IEDs they are sniffing, nor how far they must parachute or rappel from aircraft into enemy territory.


He believed the dog was immortal.


So begins Susan Orlean’s sweeping, powerfully moving account of Rin Tin Tin’s journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon. Orlean, a staff writer at The New Yorker who has been hailed as “a national treasure” by The Washington Post, spent nearly ten years researching and reporting her most captivating book to date: the story of a dog who was born in 1918 and never died.


It begins on a battlefield in France during World War I, when a young American soldier, Lee Duncan, discovered a newborn German shepherd in the ruins of a bombed-out dog kennel. To Duncan, who came of age in an orphanage, the dog’s survival was a miracle. He saw something in Rin Tin Tin that he felt compelled to share with the world. Duncan brought Rinty home to California, where the dog’s athleticism and acting ability drew the attention of Warner Bros. Over the next ten years, Rinty starred in twenty-three blockbuster silent films that saved the studio from bankruptcy and made him the most famous dog in the world. At the height of his popularity, Rin Tin Tin was Hollywood’s number one box office star.




Why do dogs speak so profoundly to our inner lives? When Mark Doty decides to adopt a dog as a companion for his dying partner, he finds himself bringing home Beau, a large golden retriever, malnourished and in need of loving care. Beau joins Arden, the black retriever, to complete their family. As Beau bounds back into life, the two dogs become Mark Doty's intimate companions, his solace, and eventually the very life force that keeps him from abandoning all hope during the darkest days. Their tenacity, loyalty, and love inspire him when all else fails.


Dog Years is a remarkable work: a moving and intimate memoir interwoven with profound reflections on our feelings for animals and the lessons they teach us about life, love, and loss. Mark Doty writes about the heart-wrenching vulnerability of dogs, the positive energy and joy they bring, and the gift they bear us of unconditional love. A book unlike any other, Mark Doty's surprising meditation is radiantly unsentimental yet profoundly affecting. Beautifully written, Dog Years is a classic in the making.


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6 comments:

  1. I saw the author of "Soldier Dogs" on The Daily Show the other night. More Americans need to know about these brave hero dogs and their handlers.

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  2. Stan - I saw that segment too and that's why I included it. I've had Rin Tin Tin on my kindle list and read Dog Years a while ago.

    There are quite a few books on the importance of dogs in our lives and national security.

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  3. I going to have to go get these books. I love how you explained the stories here.

    Hugs
    Ray

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  4. Thanks for these book tips! I have selected 'Dog Years' and put it in my Amazon cart. I'm currently reading a massive novel but when 'Dog Years' arrives and sits on my shelf reminding me to 'read me next', I'm sure it will be a pleasure. Thanks again. I now have a dog for the very first time since I was 10 years old; 40 years without a dog was a very long stretch for me. - Montana Cowboy

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  5. Montana - I'd loved to hear about your new doggie.

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  6. 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. GOOD job to the author for this poignant portrayal of one of our military's noblest career fields.

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