Download Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes Audiobook

Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes Audiobook, by Maria Goodavage Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Maria Goodavage Narrator: Nicole Vilencia Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9781481590341
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (507 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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A leading dog-blogger offers a tour of military working dogs’ extraordinary training, heroic accomplishments, and the lasting impact they have on those who work with them.

People all over the world have been riveted by the story of Cairo, the Belgian Malinois who was a part of the Navy SEAL team that led the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. A dog’s natural intelligence, physical abilities, and pure loyalty contribute more to our military efforts than ever before. You don’t have to be a dog lover to be fascinated by the idea that a dog—the cousin of that furry guy begging for scraps under your table—could be one of the heroes who helped execute the most vital and high-tech military mission of the new millennium.

Now Maria Goodavage, editor and featured writer for one of the world’s most widely read dog blogs, tells heartwarming stories of modern soldier dogs and the amazing bonds that develop between them and their handlers. Beyond tales of training, operations, retirement, and adoption into the families of fallen soldiers, Goodavage talks to leading dog-cognition experts about why dogs like nothing more than to be on a mission with a handler they trust, no matter how deadly the IEDs they are sniffing out, nor how far they must parachute or rappel from aircraft into enemy territory.

“Military working dogs live for love and praise from their handlers,” says Ron Aiello, president of the United States War Dogs Association and a former marine scout-dog handler. “The work is all a big game, and then they get that pet, that praise. They would do anything for their handler.” This is an unprecedented window into the world of these adventurous, loving warriors. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In this detailed account, former USA Today reporter Goodavage takes readers behind the scenes to learn how these courageous canines are identified, trained, and cared for in the field…Stories of spooked pups aboard battle-bound Hueys and dogs in the line of fire reveal surprisingly human-like response to war, and posit these military mutts as admirable—and capable—soldiers.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • Soldier Dogs is a fascinating book about the valiant things that military dogs do as told through the words of the soldiers who fight beside them. It also shows you how military service dogs are created, told through the words of the trainers and scientists who know the process. It is written in an easy and entertaining style and will acquaint you with dozens of canine heroes ranging from Stubby, who fought in WWI, to Cairo, who was a member of the raiding party that took down Osama Bin Laden. It is a great read for anyone who appreciates dogs and heroes.”

    Stanley Coren, author of The Intelligence of Dogs

  • “Popular dog blogger Goodavage covers the training, duties, retirement, and adoption of military dogs while explaining that these animals live for their missions. Lots of interest in this subject, not least because the Navy SEAL team that raided Osama bin Laden’s compound last May got help from Cairo, a Belgian Malinois.”

    Library Journal

  • “Writer Goodavage profiles an indispensible warrior of the four-legged variety…The author provides inspiring personal stories of the many canine allies (and their handlers) who have dramatically enhanced military command units and examines how this indelible human-canine bond often transcends the atrocities of wartime violence. A well-deserved salute to the military’s ‘paws-on-the-ground heroes.’”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A moving portrait of the loyal, courageous, furry warriors who truly are enlisted Man's Best Friend.”

    People magazine

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


  • “[A] highly recommended book if you have the slightest interest in military working dogs. A must read—I say again must read—book if you have ever served anywhere they've had paws on the ground. I’m not sure who to thank more...Maria Goodavage for her book or Blek, Lucy, Buck, Ajax, Davy, Tina, Patrick, Fenji, Rex, Cinte, Lex, Ben, Lars, Duc, and the other dogs and their handlers for helping her write it..”

    David Reeder,

  • “Goodavage does a great job of chronicling the use of dogs in the military.”

  • A New York Times bestseller

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 2/19/2014

    " Full disclosure, I'm a huge dog lover, so I already had in mind that I would really enjoy this book. The subject, working military dogs, was a lot of fun to read about and pretty informative as well. It was great to get some insight into the incredible bonds that develop between the handlers and dogs, and yes, I was moved to tears on more than one occasion while reading some of the more heartbreaking passages. The book reads more like a series of essays than a complete, thorough, history of military dogs, but I liked the style because it was a quick, easy read and gave just the right amount of information at a time. There is a lot of fluff in the book, so if you're looking for a more academic book about military dogs, this isn't it, but if you just want to learn more about the subject in an easy, reader-friendly way, this is the book for you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brandon | 2/12/2014

    " Finished Soldier Dogs by Maria Goodavage last night. It was the best book on Military Working Dogs (MWDs) I've read. It takes you cradle to grave in the MWD world. They talk about single purpose, dual purpose, EDD, NDD, PEDD, PNDD, TEDD, IDD, CTD, MDD and MPCs. Even if you've been a handler a long time (say 16 yrs like myself) there's still alot of good information to be had from reading this book. Check it out! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 2/7/2014

    " This was the best book!!!!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 1/31/2014

    " Wonderful stories about the dogs and their handlers. Some made me cry, others made me cheer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shelly | 1/29/2014

    " A great book detailing the training and selection of military working dogs. Full review on my blog "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 1/20/2014

    " If you are a dog lover, you will appreciate this book. It is about military working dogs. I heard about this book on Jon Stewart's show and when I saw how emotional he got talking about it, I knew I had to check it out. He, too, is a dog person. These dogs are trained in a variety of ways, mostly to detect explosives, IEDs in particular. According to the Goodavage, they are not just saving the lives of our troops, they help the civilian populations too. When an IED is planted near a village, they don't just take out a soldier. The men, women and children who live there are at risk too. She quotes in the book that anywhere between 150 to 1800 lives per dog are saved because of their skills. It becomes very apparent as I read this book how invaluable these dogs are. The book covers their training, information about the dogs's senses, their breeds, where they come from, how they are cared for and so much more. The part I found most interesting is the relationships between the dogs and their handlers and the level of trust involved with the troops who patrol with them. In my opinion and in the author's too, these dogs are heroes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noelia | 1/20/2014

    " great account of brave 4 legged soldiers who did dangerous work, all for a pat on the head and a Kong. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clarissa | 1/19/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. To see the roles that the dogs play in war time & how much their handlers care for them. It was easy to read & well written. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Don | 1/19/2014

    " I don't know--this isn't a bad book, certainly and tells the amazing story of the armed forces partnership with dogs. But it feels like we deal with two few dog/soldier relationships and doesn't do quite enough to explain what exactly dogs do on the field of battle. There could be a better book on the subject. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashley | 1/18/2014

    " I'm pregnant right now and some parts of this book made me cry! This book reminded me of a blog. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 1/6/2014

    " Excellant. Would have liked more on WW II, but did not fit the story she wanted to tell. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ginger | 12/12/2013

    " Very informative and educational book. Very well written, great knowing more about the MWD program. There was several times where this book brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing these dogs' stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 12/11/2013

    " Very interesting, I learned a lot reading this book. As a dog lover it pulled on my heart strings quite a few times and even brought me to tears. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ang | 11/27/2013

    " Meh. Most interesting when talking about the physical and mental capabilities of the dogs, and not their handlers. (Never thought about how Callie smells pizza! Not as one product, but as yeast and flour, as tomatoes and basil and oil, as milk and rennet, and so on. Fascinating concept.) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Juli | 9/7/2013

    " Unbelievable book, I cried more than I laughed. It's a wonderful account what military dogs, trainers, and handlers go through from training to the battle field. I applaud anyone who puts in the time to train these incredible dogs!! Did I say I cried? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie | 8/12/2013

    " A little slow start but mostly interesting book about dogs in the armed services - how they are bred, trained and perform. I think most dog lovers would enjoy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 7/14/2013

    " I will have to try this one later. I was listening to this on tape, and the narrator was overly upbeat and that often didn't match the seriousness of the subject matter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 6/19/2013

    " Very interesting book. It is amazing what these dogs go through, not only being in war zones but what they go through just to become a military working dog. Made me tear up a couple of times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lj | 1/25/2013

    " My first kindle book. Reads more like a series of articles than a book but I found it interesting and I learned a lot. Its very sad what these dogs and their soldiers go through. The capacity to serve is amazing. My dog is so spoiled. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie | 11/9/2012

    " Listened to this as an audiobook. Pretty interesting non-fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz | 11/4/2012

    " A great book to read. Well written book that is fast moving. I enjoyed the topics and stories told. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen | 11/3/2012

    " Really enjoyed this book and the stories about the dogs and soldiers. I was pleasantly surprised. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meredith | 9/12/2012

    " This is a book you read because of the content and not the style in which it is written. The author is actually pretty terrible as a writer. But the stories she reports are worth slogging through the absolute directionless, disorganized mess this book is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carly | 8/29/2012

    " I need one of these doggehs. And I don't even like doggehs. A dear friend adopted one from Lackland, and it is taking a huge amount of love, commitment, and dedication. But what she is getting in return from that wonderful little creature is amazing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carrie | 7/9/2012

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author blended the individual stories (some were the grab your tissues variety for me) with the research she did on the current programs. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John | 7/9/2012

    " Author jumps around too much and doesn't elaborate on the stories as much as I would like. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 4/30/2012

    " I had no idea that dogs were such a big part of our military. Very interesting stories (many sad) about the dogs and their handlers. "

About the Author

Maria Goodavage, a former reporter for USA Today and the San Francisco Chronicle, is the editor and featured writer for one of the most widely read dog blogs in the world, For the Love of Dog at She is the author of The Dog Lover’s Companion to California and The Dog Lover’s Companion to the San Francisco Bay Area. She coproduced and wrote an award-winning children’s video about dogs and other animals, starring the voice of Ed Asner. She lives with her family in San Francisco, and the four-legged guy on their team is a Lab named Jake. 

About the Narrator

Nicole Vilencia became a full-time radio personality right out of high school and has worked for twenty-two years at radio stations across the country. When not rolling dice in Las Vegas, donning a mask for Mardi Gras on the streets of New Orleans, or entertaining radio listeners, she can be found cooking for her daughter in a rambling Ashland, Oregon, farmhouse.