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One of your co-workers is a fool.
Working class canines star in new book 122408 AE 2 For the CCW One of your co-workers is a fool.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Story last updated at 12/24/2008 - 10:52 am

Working class canines star in new book
"Paws to Protect," by Sharon Sakson. Alyson Books. 288 pages, $24.95.

One of your co-workers is a fool.

He's always bragging about his mutt, some cur that's supposedly in high-demand for pretty much everything. Listening to this guy, you'd think his dog was a descendant of Einstein or Galileo, or had graduated from Harvard. It's blah blah blah all day long, like that fleabag invented the wheel or something.

Poor deluded fool. You have to feel sorry for him. He thinks his dog is so great, but everybody knows that the Smartest Dog in the World lives in your house.

But can your dog do more than just bark at pizza deliverers and keep the sofa warm? In the new book "Paws to Protect" by Sharon Sakson, you'll meet dogs that work, fight, sleuth, and protect.

Ever since the first canine slinked toward a campfire and barked a warning, dogs have worked with humans. Author Sharon Sakson says we'd be living in a different world if it hadn't been for dogs: legend says that Alexander the Great had a Greyhound by his side, Attila the Hun used giant hounds in battle, Napoleon was supposedly saved from drowning by a Newfie, and nearly every important American skirmish included dogs on the battlefield.

Sakson tells the story of Stubby, a Staffordshire Terrier who followed his master in battle and saved his battalion several times. One meeting with mustard gas almost ended Stubby's life, but the dog went on to become the most decorated canine war hero and Georgetown University's first football mascot.

Many of the stories Sakson presents are of brave German shepherds and Belgian Malinois on the battlefield. Years ago, those most loyal soldiers were often betrayed by the military but lately, government officials are making sure the right thing is done both for the dog and for the soldier who loves him. And before you think "large" when you think of a working or military dog, be sure to read the story of the Yorkie who helped save lives during World War II.

Dogs work to catch criminals, find missing people and objects, and bring home our dead. To protect ourselves, we've learned to use a dog's ever-watchful eyes, his keen hearing, and his extraordinary nose.

We've also learned to take advantage of his huge heart.

Have you been whining about a lack of things to read this winter? Then grab this book and chomp into it. You won't be sorry.

Although author Sharon Sakson offers a slightly unbalanced collection of stories (many military dog accounts but surprisingly few other protecting-dog tales), this book is still an irresistible treat for animal lovers, particularly those of the canine variety.

If you've been scratching around for a good book to read, chase this one down. For dog lovers, "Paws to Protect" is a tail-wagger, for sure.


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