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book review: "Top Dog"...

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
... about service dogs working with Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Written by Maria Goodavage, copyright 2014, subtitled: 'The Story of Marine Hero Lucca'. Goodavage has written another book, in the same vein, titled "Soldier Dogs", which I assume is about Army working dogs.
this one, that I just finished was randomly picked up off the shelf at the library, and read while traveling in talking book form. I enjoyed this story so much, about a Staff Sargent and his dog, Lucca, I will request the other book to read as well.

SSgt. Chris Willingham trained Lucca, and spent two deployments with her, working to clear IEDs and searching for explosive materiel as well as finding many weapons caches and high value human targets. I heard/read that most of the dogs the military uses are bred in Europe and often shepherds or Belgian Malinois or a mix. Willingham eventually became a kennel master for USMC, turning Lucca over to another handler, Cpl. Rodriguez. Rod continued to work the dog, as they served with Special Forces and regular infantry on missions. Lucca was a well-loved, easily liked, even tempered canine, hard working member of patrols, with remarkable results, good finds, great protection for the teams she worked with.

There are heart-wrenching personal stories here: of dogs and Marines who came home in body bags. And beautiful uplifting tales of many occasions that the service canines did the jobs they were trained for, preserving and protecting our service men. Lucca was ultimately injured in Afghanistan, and retired. (During the Vietnam era, the dogs who served in southeast Asia were usually euthanized.) Chris kept informed about her, and after she was discharged, Lucca was adopted by the Willingham family.

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