The Play’s the Thing


HeeHaw at the Intermediate School

I have done a little acting in my time. Small parts in some musical productions at school.

Rescuing the baby from the burning building

Rescuing the baby from the burning building

And in plays put on by the Boys of the Detention Center. Last year the boys wrote and produced a play about working dogs. They put a lot of work into that production and Walker and I had starring roles.

This year a different group of guys decided to do a play as well. They decided to write about military dogs. And of course Walker and I filled those parts! In preparation for doing this play, everyone had to learn about military dogs and what kinds of things they actually did. We got the boys a couple of great books about war dogs. Wow! Those dogs are some real super heroes!!! We all learned a lot!


Dogs on Duty is by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. Ms Patent is a pretty prolific writer of non-fiction books for kids. (We have another excellent book of hers titled The Right Dog For the Job). Dogs on Duty was published in 2012 by Walker Publishing. Walker Publishing. How about that? This is one incredible book! Unbelievable photos of military dogs in action. There is a history of dogs being used in wartime, from ancient days til today. In WWI dogs were used as messengers and as Red Cross dogs helping wounded soldiers. In WWII a civilian group called Dogs for Defense encouraged people to volunteer their family pets to the war effort. Over 9,000 dogs served, saving the lives of thousands of soldiers. Through the years, the role of dogs during war has expanded to being scouts and sentries and alert dogs sniffing out enemies and IEDs and hidden weapons.

The book tells us about the training that goes into making a military dog, the equipment that they wear, (which is a whole lot of stuff!), and what life is like in a war zone. There are lots and lots of pictures. In the back of the book is a glossary and lists of websites and books for further resources. A most excellent book!!!

Now, back to that play. The play was about a group of soldiers in Afghanistan trying to take a city. Walker once had a class in sniffing out scents so he got to be the bomb alert dog and sniffed out IEDs. I was the Red Cross dog taking medical supplies to the wounded. The boys researched the whole thing, wrote it out with script and scenes and the works, then acted. They did such a good job!!! They had to learn to work as a team – cooperation! They had to read and write – which some of them didn’t care to do. They had to learn to communicate with each other and with us dogs – how to get the best from someone.

I’m very proud of our boys!!

Here is a link to a very interesting article in the Smithsonian Magazine about the Education of a Bomb Dog

And a military dog’s story –

10 thoughts on “The Play’s the Thing

    • Thanks Ms Tilton! Life is good when you enjoy your work. I guess the Mom Person is pretty good. She makes training a fun game. She enjoys her work too! We make a pretty good team. It’s challenging for me though when I have to look to someone else for instructions. And I guess that that in turn makes it challenging for these detention boys. We’re all learning things together!

  1. I love this review! The pictures are fantastic! Is this a real school the play was held at? The boys write this? What a great way to put an emphasis on the contribution dogs have given in war efforts. I would have loved to watch this. Great job Rhythm and Walker. You two rock! :grin;

    • Thanks Ms Morris! The very top photo of the Hee Haw play was at a real Intermediate School. The other pictures were taken at the detention center which is like a jail with school. The boys did write the play. It was quite a challenge for them, but they did an excellent job. We all learned a lot about those hero dogs.

  2. What a great way for those lads to spend their time! There should be more animals in government institutions…except for possibly the Institue for Animal-related Allergies…

    • We try to give those lads some new, more positive ways to look at the world. I think they’re really pretty good guys who just made some bad decisions. And I hope when they get out they’ll remember all the fun things that we did together. I don’t know if they do this in Australia, but here in the US it has become very popular to have prison inmates raise and train dogs. My buddy Walker was actually raised in a prison facility. It has given him a unique perspective on life.

  3. Thanks Mr J! And what do you find most fascinating? The talk of war dogs? Or the vision of jail for kids? Both are subjects of emotional controversy I think. I have an admiration for both populations. Thanks for dropping by.

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