Dogs Monthly Book Club

Welcome to the Dogs Monthly Book Club. Each month we review our pick of the latest releases, with an opportunity to win for 15 lucky readers! If you would like to enter the prize draw, please email competition@dogsmonthly.co.uk with the name of the book you would like to receive in the subject line. Please remember to include your name and full address. Entries close 3 March 2017.

 

Mike & Scrabble; A guide to training your new human by Scrabble, as dictated to Mike Dicks, published by Hubble & Hattie

"There are many, wise, practical and academic books that explore the relationship between animals and their owners," reads the blurb. "'Mike & Scrabble' is not one of them."

But what you do get with this devilish little book of skits is a whole lot of laughs, heart, and even a tear or two.

Through his brilliant storyboards, Mike Dicks chronicles his relationship with Scrabble, a 'Jackashund'. It begins with how the pair came together after Mike, who'd just survived a round in the ring with leukaemia, and Scrabble, a puppy farm accident saved in Ireland, found each other on a hill in Sussex.

But in the eyes of Scrabble, it's Mike who needs looking after, and she's here to offer practical advice to her kind in one-line observations.

"At bedtime," she writes sincerely, "your Human will find it reassuring to be barked to sleep."

"Encourage your Human to take you to the pub. It is likely he will drop a kebab on the way home" is another of our personal favourites.

Mike Dick's cartoons started out as snippets online, and their popularity soon garnered a cult following. It's delightful to see them brought together as a brilliant story, and one that's as uplifting as it is tongue-in-cheek.

Find out more at www.mikeandscrabble.com


Wonder Dogs: True Stories of Canine Courage by Ben Holt, published Summersdale

We know dogs are pretty unique, incredible individuals, but after reading this collection of true stories, you will be in complete awe of this heroic species. Ben Holt has brought together some of the most amazing feats of courage and kindness by dogs who put their own lives at risk to save others in both the distant and more recent past.

The book is divided into categories, covering everything from harrowing water rescues to brave war dogs. There are heart-wrenching stories of dogs saving their fellow dog or animal, including the husky who adopted a kitten, and the assistance dogs helping their owners to lead independent lives.

Some dogs you may already have heard of, such as Whizz, Newfoundland and water rescue hero. Whizz saved nine people during this time patrolling the Bristol Channel and River Severn and won the PDSA Order of Merit.

Other stories may be new to you, but all these dogs deserve recognition. Dogs like Daisy, the Miniature Dachshund, who proves this breed breed doesn't know its own size. Daisy came to the rescue when a bear got into her family's garage, but managed to distract it long enough for her owner to get her six-year-old son to safety.

Daisy's story has a happy ending, but sadly, there are some where dogs truly did give their lives for their owners, including Delta, who died trying to protect her young owner from a volcano.

You can also read the incredible story of Roselle, a guide dog, who remained calm and led her owners to safety down 78 floors and away from the World Trade centre on 9/11.

These extraordinary stories show just how selfless our four-legged companions can be.


Lucca the War Dog by Maria , published by Ebury Press

US Marine Corps dog Lucca K458, a German Shepherd Dog-Belgian Malinois cross, served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a search dog. Always on the front line with her handlers, Lucca's role was to sniff out hidden weapons and explosives. Throughout her six years of active service, she took part in 400 separate missions, in which her life-saving skills as a search and rescue dog proved invaluable.

Unfortunately, a patrol on March 23 2012, would be Lucca's last. She discovered a 30lb improvised explosive device (IED), but when a second device detonated nearby she was caught in the blast. Lucca lost a front leg and suffered sever burns to her chest, neck and head. Her final mission would have also marked the end of her life had it not been for her handler, Corporal Juan Rodriguez, who gave her vital first aid.

For the 10 days it took for Lucca to get back on her remaining three paws, Juan never left her side, even sleeping next to her. Despite her remarkable recovery, Lucca couldn't continue in the military , so she went back to an old friend, her former handler, retired Gunnery Segeant Chris Willingham. Chris adopted Lucca and she soon settled into her new life in sunny California.

Lucca the War Dog is an engaging account of Lucca's years in service the dangers and hardships of war the bravery of dogs and soldiers who overcame them and, most touching of all to any dog lover, the bond she shared with her handlers, Chris and juan.

Last year, her story prompted PDSA to award her the PDSA Dickin Medal - the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross - making her the first first US marine Corps dog to receive this esteemed honour.

If you want to know exactly what made Lucca K458 so special and shed a few tears while you're at it, look no further; this is the read for you.