People all over the world have been riveted by the story of Cairo, a Belgian malinois, who was part of the team that led the bin Laden raid. You don't have to be a dog-lover to be fascinated by the idea that a dog - the cousin of that furry boy 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. There's the story of Pfc. Colton Rusk, shot by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan last December. Under fire, Rusk's explosives-sniffing dog, Eli, rushed to his side and crawled on top of him to protect him. Don't call this anthropomorphism to a soldier who has witnessed a dog put its life on the line. In many cases, dogs are credited with giving up their own lives to save the lives of their beloved handlers. There's no doubt these canines are incomparable troopers - brave, loyal, and superbly well suited to their tasks. But there's something else that draws us to these dogs and their stories, something endearingly ironic: for all their remarkable feats, they're not only our heroes, they're our best friends.
Maria Goodavage is the editor and featured writer for one of the most widely read dog blogs in the world, 'For the Love of Dog' at Dogster.com.
Penguin Books Australia
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True Stories of Canine Heroes