Soldier Dogs

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Coming in October 2014…

Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca

cover of book Top Dog with military dog photoMaria Goodavage, The New York Times bestselling author of Soldier Dogs,  returns with the incredible story of K-9 Marine hero Lucca, and the handlers who fought alongside her through two bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

In Top Dog, Maria Goodavage takes readers into the life of Lucca K458, a decorated and highly skilled military working dog. An extraordinary bond develops between Lucca and Marine Corps dog handlers Chris Willingham and Juan Rodriguez, in what would become a legendary 400-mission career. A Specialized Search Dog, Lucca belongs to an elite group trained to work off-leash at long distances from her handler. She served alongside both Special Forces and regular infantry, and became so sought-after that platoons frequently requested her by name. 

The book describes in gritty detail Lucca’s adventures on and off the battlefields, including tense, lifesaving explosives finds and firefights, as well as the bravery of fellow handlers and dogs they served with. Ultimately we see how the bond between Lucca and her handlers overcame the endless brutalities of war and the traumas this violence ignites.

Here is a portrait of modern warfare with a heartwarming and inspiring conclusion that will touch dog lovers and the toughest military readers. 

Preorder at AmazonB&N, or Indiebound to get yours on the release date, October 28, 2014!




New York Times Best Seller!

“A moving portrait of the loyal, courageous, furry warriors who truly are enlisted Man’s Best Friend.” — People Magazine

“A well-deserved salute to the military’s ‘paws-on-the-ground heroes.’ ” – Kirkus

“A fascinating window into a different kind of military life.” – Booklist

In her new book, Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes (Dutton Penguin), Maria Goodavage opens up a whole new world for dog lovers in her intrepidly reported, richly illustrated, heartwarming account of the dogs who play an increasingly vital role in our military efforts.

Goodavage, a former USA Today reporter and the news editor at Say Media’s, has been writing about dogs for years. When news broke of the raid that ended the life of Osama bin Laden, everyone wanted to know all about the intrepid canine member of the Navy SEALS team and other dogs who serve their country. With Goodavage’s background and her longstanding passion for the topic of military dogs, a book on man’s best friend on the modern battlefield was a natural fit.

It’s not that we’ve merely learned to train dogs more effectively. We’re now far better at utilizing their natural abilities: their acute senses, their wide range of working skills, and their sheer emotional intelligence. As every dog owner knows, dogs love to have a job to do.

Soldier Dogs is driven by extensive “boots-on-the-ground” reporting and interviews with military men and women who train and go to work with these dogs in some of the harshest places on Earth.

For a science perspective, Goodavage spoke with the world’s leading canine cognition experts on what dogs know and how they get the job done, whether they’re sniffing out an IED or bringing down a bad guy.

A delivery of an unprecedented view of the bond between military working dogs and their handlers, no one can fail to be moved by the extraordinary power of the relationships featured in Soldier Dogs. This book will change the way you think about dogs, about soldiers, and about America’s canine heroes — our loyal soldier dogs.

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You can order Soldier Dogs from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Indiebound. Go to the BUY NOW link at the top right of this page for a choice of stores and book formats (hardcover, digital, audiobook).