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NAVY SEAL DOGS by Michael Ritland


My Tale of Training Canines for Combat

by Michael Ritland

Age Range: 12 - 18

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-250-04182-1
Publisher: St. Martin's

Special force SEALS are elite enough, but SEAL dogs are a breed apart.

Author Ritland was a SEAL for many years, training and handling SEAL dogs, and first told about his training routines and exploits in his book for adults, Trident K9 Warriors (2013). This book is a special retelling for young readers. In solid, yeomanly prose, Ritland and Gary Brozek, uncredited, bring readers through the training process; these are dogs schooled to the nth degree in nonlethal force. They also spend a good amount of time with Brett (a 12-year Navy SEAL veteran—last names are rarely used in SEAL literature) and dog Chopper in Ritland’s current work with the nonprofit Warrior Dog Foundation, which hopes “to make certain that retired [military working dogs] are able to live out the remainder of their lives in a positive environment.” Great details come to the fore, such as fascinating stuff on “tells,” that is when a dog signals that this or that is happening, and just what a dog bite can do to human flesh. There is even a positive note on George W. Bush’s weapons-of-mass-destruction fiasco—it prompted the formation of an elite K-9 unit. (Photos not seen.)

About time these heroes got the attention they deserved for a young audience. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)