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