U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Nick Lacarra and Coot, a Labrador retriever trained to detect improvised explosive devices or IEDs, in Afghanistan in 2012.  (DOD photo)

Without their handlers, they would just be good dogs.

Bonded By Battle is the first book to tell the whole 150-year story of how dogs and soldiers built a relationship on and off the battlefield, teaming up to become our military’s most advanced counter-terrorism weapon.

With the release of the feature film Megan Leavey this spring, many people will realize for the first time how essential handlers — the humans who work, sleep, and bond with military working dogs — have been to the success of America’s canine corps.

Bonded By Battle traces this remarkable evolution of the relationship between soldiers and dogs.

From mascots to military working dogs

It begins with a bulldog trotting into a firehouse on the eve of the Civil War. The firefighters soon take a liking to their mascot — and bring him along when they all volunteer for the Union Army.

Over time, soldiers learned that dogs were more than great companions. They could do things humans couldn’t, or simply do them much, much better.

The dogs learned, too, learned to make themselves more and more useful to the soldiers.

And the military command learned as well. For decades dogs were treated like equipment, discarded after they were no longer of use. This led to a shameful decision at the end of the Vietnam War. 

eBook and Audio edition preorders coming soon

BONDED BY BATTLE will be released May 2 in hardcover, eBook, and audio editions.

BONDED BY BATTLE will be released May 2 in hardcover, eBook, and audio editions.

Hardcover, 152 pages, $16.95

Audiobook, $7.99

eBook, $4.99

Arriving May 2017