Soldier Dogs by Maria Goodavage

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This is a great read, covering dogs and handlers from the acquisition process to Lackland AFB to the Yuma Proving Grounds to paws on the ground downrange.
-Soldier Systems Daily


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.
"Military working dogs live for love and praise from their handlers," says Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association and a former marine scout dog handler. "The work is all a big game, and then they get that pet, that praise. They would do anything for their handler." This is an unprecedented window into the world of these adventurous, loving warriors.


About Maria Goodavage

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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.
Published March 15, 2012 by Dutton Adult. 293 pages
Genres: War, History, Crafts, Hobbies & Home. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Apr 15 2012
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Critic reviews for Soldier Dogs
All: 6 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 0


Feb 15 2012

...Goodavage uncovers how these dogs are procured and trained to become field-specialized, and she impartially addresses the conflicting ethics of employing canines in battle....A well-deserved salute to the military’s “paws-on-the-ground heroes.”

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Under the Radar

Reviewed by David Reeder on Mar 15 2012

Ms. Goodavage has a straight forward but eloquent style that compels attention....She never treats the subject matter lightly or with anything less than the appropriate gravitas.

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Soldier Systems Daily

Mar 29 2012

This is a great read, covering dogs and handlers from the acquisition process to Lackland AFB to the Yuma Proving Grounds to paws on the ground downrange.

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Pure Politics

Reviewed by Wilson Trivino on Mar 06 2012

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.

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The Elka Almanac

Reviewed by Jen on Apr 17 2012

Throughout the book, Goodavage looks at the criteria for selecting a military working dog, and the types of personalities these dogs tend to have. She relates these things to her own dog, Jake, a rescued yellow lab...a nifty way to go about it...

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Dog Days

Reviewed by Sharon Castellanos on Mar 23 2012

She had me nodding my head with each story about these amazing military working dogs [MWD] and their handlers....I highly recommend reading Soldier Dogs, it is well-written, well-sourced and well done!

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Tara Leigh

Tara Leigh 5 Sep 2013

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