Although dogs served as mascots during the Civil War and World War I, it wasn’t until World War II that they were trained to work for the military.
Pimm provides an overview of the lives and work of several of these smart companions. After the success of dogs in World War II they would again be used in Korea, Vietnam, and wars that followed. Pimm uses the stories of individual dogs to focus her survey. Many of those dogs began life as family pets but were donated to the military to fill a need for working dogs. More recently, specially bred service dogs have been trained to detect hidden land mines and concealed weapons and for search and rescue. Although dogs were returned to their families after World War II, tragically, nearly all of the approximately 5,000 that served in Vietnam were left behind. That sad statistic is illustrated by the story of Clipper, a German shepherd who loyally served there. Since the passage of Robby’s Law in 2000, many of these dogs are offered for adoption at the ends of their careers. A few black-and-white photographs are included in most short chapters. Extensive backmatter rounds out an accurate and fascinating presentation.
Although not as flashy as Elizabeth MacLeod’s Top Dogs (2017) or as colorful as Nancy Furstinger’s Paws of Courage (2016), this solid effort would pair well with either of those for dog lovers wanting more information. (Nonfiction. 10-16)