In this special edition of War Dogs, adapted specifically for a younger audience, Rebecca Frankel offers a riveting mix of on-the-ground reporting her own hands-on experiences in the military working dog world, and a look at the science of dogs’ special abilities—from their amazing noses and powerful jaws to their enormous sensitivity to the emotions of their human companions. Her narrative gives us insight into the world of dogs in combat and the touching aspect of the relationship between soldiers and their dogs.
Frankel explores the long, rich history of dogs in the US military, from the spirit-lifting mascots of the Civil War to the dogs still leading patrols hunting for IEDs today. Frankel not only interviewed handlers who deployed with dogs in wars from Vietnam to Iraq, but top military commanders, K-9 program managers, combat-trained therapists who brought dogs into war zones as part of a preemptive measure to stave off PTSD, and veterinary technicians stationed in Bagram. She makes a passionate case for maintaining a robust war-dog force.
In this YA edition, Rebecca Frankel gives further insight into her work as a journalist and how it led her to explore the world of dogs and their handlers. With a compelling cast of humans and animals, this moving book is a must read for all dog lovers.
Though she's is a senior editor of special projects at Foreign Policy, Frankel's weekly column about war dogs in the same publication is clearly where her heart lies; she shares her admiration for them in this frequently fascinating study of their role in the military. Dogs have been used in war for centuries, more often in more to take live than to save them, but their uses are many: they alert troops to danger, seek out bombs, send messages in hostile environments, and provide therapeutic comfort to veterans. Frankel explores all of these roles and more, explaining what makes dogs uniquely suited for these tasks, and shares numerous vignettes of dogs (and their handlers) in action, from training to deployment. Frankel's stance on military's use of dogs is far from passive. She is highly critical of the U.S. Army's indifferent attitude to the effects of war on the dogs themselves, some of whom return from the field irrevocably changed and suffering from a canine version of PTSD. Her passion for her subject matter and deep appreciation for the dogs is heartwarming and inspiring throughout. Military aficionados as well as dog lovers will learn from and enjoy from this study of canine commandos and the service people who count on them.