I’ve decided to branch out a bit with the blog and try something new. I wanted to interview an author whose work I respect and admire. But I didn’t want to stray too far from the core of my blog, which led me to New York Times Besting Selling author Maria Goodavage. Maria’s book Soldier Dogs is the Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes. If you have checked out my Facebook page you may have seen some posts about Maria’s incredible work.
Maria is a former San Francisco Chronicle and USA Today reporter and currently the news editor at Say Media’s Dogster.com. She has been writing about dogs for years. After one conversation with her you will realize that she is an absolutely fabulous lady and a complete dog lover.
Maria grew up hearing stories from her father on … Read More »
Recently someone asked me why dogs are so important to me. It would seem justifiably poetic if I told you I was saved by a military working dog in Iraq or Afghanistan saved, but I can’t.
In my post What is a Soldier’s Inspiration to Write a novel in Afghanistan?, I mention that the first book that really made an impact on me was Where the Red Fern grows by Wilson Rawls. I grew up wanting my own Old Dan and Little Ann.
I received my first dog when I was eight, a dachshund named Alfie. When I was 13, I came home from school and my beloved Alfie … Read More »
Karlo, a U.S. Army working dog, relaxes in the sun in front of a painted building after completing a full day’s work with his handler in Kirkuk, Iraq, March 20, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet
A military working dog wears Doggles to protect his eyes as a Chinook helicopter takes off, kicking up dust and debris, during an air assault operation by U.S. soldiers assigned to Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Parwan province, Afghanistan, May 11, 2010. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jason Brace
Zeko checking out the ladies. He loves his googles because the ladies can’t tell that … Read More »
Army Specialist Marc Whittaker walks into the kennel every day with his heart beating quickly and his mind spinning. He looks to his left and then to his right and then he hesitates.
To the right is retired Military Working Dog Anax, who whimpers for him. Anax is his son who now has three legs because he took a bullet that was meant for Marc.
To his left, Marc’s new dog, Military Working Dog Dark, whimpers for him.
What he’d like to do is take both dogs outside so he could play and frolic with his two pals without a purpose. Marc wants to take them home and never bring them back to the kennels. But he knows that … Read More »
In my first post on the women in combat subject Women Shouldn’t Be in Combat Units!, I received an outpouring of “hate” mail and tweets. As I sorted through them, I attempted to understand why folks believe women shouldn’t be in combat. I am honestly interested in everyone’s thoughts.
I put together a list of reasons provided to me and followed up with a second post, Reasons Why Women Shouldn’t Be in Combat Units. Very quickly I received another volley of reasons why I was wrong about this—why women REALLY should not be in combat units.
I’m good with admitting I’m wrong when I am, but you have yet to convince me on this subject. So let’s take a look at what else folks have told me is their reasoning is for excluding women in combat units.
“I don’t want … Read More »
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Fowler gives water to King, his military working dog, during a clearing operation in the village of Tammuz, Iraq, March 2, 2009. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Walter
U.S. Army Sgt. Justin McGhee, 67th Engineer Detachment, dog handler, gives his dog a drink of water after searching several compounds in an Afghan village, June 26, 2010, Dand District Kandahar, Afghanistan. Sergeant McGhee was attached to the Royal Air Force II Squadron during a joint patrol with the Afghan National Army 205th Corps and Afghan National Police in search of insurgents, weapons caches and illegal drugs. As a result, three insurgents were found and detained, along with several pounds of marijuana. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kenny Holston)(Released)
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Cody Richael, a dog handler with 2nd … Read More »
Note: This is Part II of this series. If you haven’t read Part I you might want to read that post first.
Spectacular brown jagged mountains surrounded the Konduz Airfield in northern Afghanistan, reminiscent of Sergeant Noah Carpenter’s home in Arizona. But Noah couldn’t focus on the spectacular scenery. His focus was squarely on the fact that he was standing on a flight line alone, with his Military Working Dog Chuck faithfully by his side.
“What the hell should I do now?” thought Noah?
He looked down at his two duffle bags, rucksack, ferry kennel and a “tough box” full of Chuck’s gear and supplied and shook his head in disbelief. There was no way he could “hump” all that gear anywhere.
“Crap!” he said under his breath.
The soldiers that had landed with him at the remote camp were already picked … Read More »
I learned a lot by experimenting with writing Paws on the Ground and sending it out into the world. There will always be a lot of trial and error in writing and publishing a book, and I might be able to save you a few hassles by showing you where, in hindsight, I see I made some mistakes.
In my initial post in this series, How do you Write a Book? I provided you my novels “comprehensive” outline which looked like this:
Intro 10K words
Training 25K words
Afghanistan 40K words
Ending 5K words
When I posted about self-doubt in Does self-doubt consume you?, I left you with the fact that I was already over my planned introduction word limit by 7,000 words. So with a 17,000 word intro I jumped into the training portion of my book which would take my two main characters … Read More »
British Army Pvt. Steve Smith, with the 104 Theater Military Working Dog Support Unit (TMWDSU), tosses a toy for military working dog Memphis at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan, March 12, 2011. British soldiers with 104 TMWDSU conducted daily training exercises so that the military working dogs provided safety and security through repetitive action. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Robert R. Carrasco/Released)
British Army Pvt. Holly Davenport, with the 104 Theater Military Working Dog Support Unit (TMWDSU), restrains military working dog Dennis during a controlled aggressive demonstration at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan, March 12, 2011. British soldiers with 104 TMWDSU conducted daily training exercises so that the military working dogs provided safety and security through repetitive action. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Robert R. Carrasco/Released)
British army Pvt. Kevin Daley searches vehicles with military working dog … Read More »
“Why me,” thought Specialist John Nolan as he looked around at the other 11 students in his specialized search dog (SSD) class at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The other guys were looking at one another, smiling, laughing and joking. But John stared at the ground. He wished he could share their enthusiasm.
Everyone else was receiving two dogs and would get to choose their K9 partner but not him. He was getting the mine detector dog washout. He bit his bottom lip and shook his head.
“We’ve tried him before with four other SSD students and he never works out,” his instructors informed him.
This is not what the three-year-and-one-combat-deployment Army veteran had expected when he volunteered for K9 School. He felt like the instructors were setting him up for failure. He looked from side to side at the … Read More »