Did you know that 5% of deployed military dogs develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome)? I didn't know the percentage, but after reading Robert Crais' detective novel Suspect last year, I did learn that war dogs can suffer from "shell shock," as WWI veterans termed it.
Do you get a thrill when things you've learned start to pop up all around you, adding to and confirming your new pocket of knowledge? Call me a librarian :-), but I just love it. And I was inspired to write this post over the summer when National Geographic's June cover article was "Hero Dogs: A Soldier's Best Friend," and featured Layka, a German Shepherd soldier dog just like Maggie, the canine heroine of Suspect.
The accomplishments of canine soldiers are also explored in a non-fiction book published last year (more literary synchronicity) titled Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America's Canine Heroes. There's even a recent graphic novel that tells the based-on-true-stories accomplishments of combat dogs in three different wars: Dogs of War.
If you love dogs, are interested in details of military life, or just get a thrill from learning about new things from a bunch of different sources, you can learn a lot from a book. I hope you read (and learned) this summer.
School's about to start. See you next week!