Warrior Dog: The True Story of a Navy SEAL and His Fearless Canine Partner

Feiwel & Friends. Jun. 2020. 272p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250244901.
Gr 4-8–Written in smooth first-person narration, this book tells the often sad story of Chesney and his best friend Cairo, a 70-pound Belgian Malinois. Chesney, who had been a SEAL for most of his six years in the Navy, became the handler of Cairo, a military working dog (MWD). Chesney and Cairo trained together, along with Chesney’s team, and became a cohesive duo. In addition to conducting reconnaissance missions and searching for hidden explosives, Cairo was trained to find and attack any enemies who were a potential threat to the team. In 2008, Chesney and Cairo were ordered to Virginia for special training. The purpose of this mission was to capture and/or kill Osama bin Laden. The book’s narrative eventually focuses on how Chesney helped nurse Cairo back to health and active duty after he was seriously injured by enemy fire. Cairo’s deployments dwindled until he was reclassified as a spare MWD. Chesney’s deployments continued to put him in harm’s way until he got a severe back injury from a grenade blast in 2013. Though Chesney healed, he was seldom without pain. His best therapy turned out to be Cairo.
VERDICT An excellent choice for readers who enjoy stories about military working dogs. Pair with Nancy Roe Pimm’s Bonded by Battle: The Powerful Friendships of Military Dogs and Soldiers, from the Civil War to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Rebecca Frankel’s War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love.

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