Rating: 4 1/2 stars
“Dogs of Courage: The Heroism and Heart of Working Dogs Around the World” by Lisa Rogak (author of “Dogs of War”) is a testament to the fact that dogs are not only beloved pets who give unconditional love but that they also are working companions, and they give selflessly to serve, protect and heal us.
Dogs have lived and worked side by side with us for tens of thousands of years. How long is still a question for historians. Long enough so that there is a breed for every need. Need a nose? Bloodhound, beagle, hound. Need someone to protect your goats or sheep? Try a Great Pyrenees. (They also make good comfort dogs — hugging one feels like hugging a huge stuffed animal.) Need protection? Try a German Shepherd, a Doberman, a mutt.
Although there are many quotable passages in the book, one quote perfectly captures how people feel about their beloved companions. “The dog thinks, feels, and reacts in ways very much like humans, which explains its unique ability to fit into human society.” Bonnie Bergin, the founder of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), an organization formed to train service dogs, goes on to say, “No animal does more for us, none share a more intimate relationship with us, nor can any claim more years of alliance with us than the dog — our partner, our friend, our helpmate.”
This reviewer can personally attest to the power of dogs who work helping people. My own CCI dog is a facility dog. She accompanies me to school daily and works with children who may not get much love at home. Their faces light up when they see her and every child in the school knows her name. They say “hi” to her in the hallways, undeterred by the fact that she never says “hi” back. They love her and they know she loves them. She thrives on their love and attention, and it satisfies the students to be the givers of such love.
Rogak includes chapters on police dogs, fire dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, guide dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, prison dogs, medical detection dogs and more. Dog lovers from those who adore tiny Yorkshire terriers to lovers of the massive Mastiff will all enjoy reading about the myriad ways that dogs enrich our lives. (Not that it’s news to us!)
Please note: This review is based on the final paperback book provided by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press Griffin Paperback Original, for review purposes.