On the Back of the Book
Nowzad was a gentle giant when it came to taking treats. He never, ever snatched. To me it was just further evidence that, deep inside, there was a great dog struggling to find his way out.
When Pen Farthing brings stray dogs Nowzad and Tali back from his tour of Afghanistan, little does he know what he has begun.
Suddenly he has four dogs to look after—two of whom have never been housetrained. And soon he is inundated with requests from other Marines and soldiers to help bring their rescued dogs home. Whether it's little Helmand, Fubar, or Beardog, Pen does his utmost to give these dogs the chance they deserve.
Pre Read Thoughts
I’m choosing this because:
When I first spotted this in WHSmith the thing that caught my attention was the synopsis. Well, that and the adorable dog on the cover! I’m a sucker for animals and I love reading stories about them and what they help people through. I may have tissues ready for this because I have a feeling I’ll need them.
Judging a book by its cover:
I love the cover! The dog is quite possibly one of the cutest things I’ve seen in my life!! I won’t lie I want it. If you’re not an animal lover though, I doubt it’s a cover that would grab you. But most people love animals right?
Pricing the (possible) awesomeness:
I got this as part of a ‘buy one get one half price offer’ but the RRP is £7.99 and you can currently find it on Amazon for £5.99 in paperback and £5.22 on Kindle. If you need a different shop/format you’ll have to go on a mission to find what you need.
Post Read Thoughts
Wow! I was blown away by this. I think that the courage Pen showed to stand up and make sure that dogs in Afghanistan can have better lives with the soldiers they bonded with is incredible. I’m not ashamed to say that a lot of the stories had tears streaming down my face. I loved the stories of Nowzad and Tali and how they coped with adjusting to life in the UK. Something I found particularly distressing was the lack of medicine available for Afghan animals. It brings home for me that my vets are just a phone call away, so much so that it’s easier to get a vet appointment than one for a doctor. One of my cats definitely wouldn’t survive in the situations those dogs had to and I wouldn’t want either of them to.
This is a non-fiction story so the characters are actual people and judging them harshly would be rude. Saying that the British soldier who had a dog brought over and then abandoned him once he was in quarantine made me so angry. We have enough abandoned animals as it is, we don’t need more. At least Pen and Lisa took him in and he can have the life he was promised.
On a happier note the people that had become so devoted to their war pets that they had them transported from afghan to their normal lives should be commended. It takes a lot to look after an ordinary pet but these have seen, heard and possibly injured by things that we wouldn’t want another human to be a part of. The bond between man and dog is something special and the people we learn about reading this prove that.
Overall this is a heartbreaking yet uplifting book that tells you the difficulties of owning an Afghan animal and how the charity Nowzad Dogs tries to help by raising funds and arranging transportation into other countries. The writing tells it like it is with no fancy flourishes and if anything that enhances the tales because there’s no sugar coating. I’m really glad I read this because I’m now aware of a problem that I didn’t even know existed.
4 stars – This is an incredible read that I just flew trough. I recommend this to animal lovers everywhere. There are some incredible stories in there and Pen is genuinely an inspiration to many.
A Final Note
First: I have a note that says swearing. This isn’t aimed at YA readers but I think there’s something that every reader can take from it and that’s, even in darkness there’s hope. Those dogs brought hope to overseas soldiers.
Second: I wrote this review in 2011 but typing this up now has tears in my eyes so I was genuinely affected by the story.
Finally: I can’t type a review about soldiers and dogs without thanking every service man and woman for laying their lives on the line to make this world a better place for others. True heroes.