Wednesday, 6 March 2013

It’s All About Treo

(Life and War With the World’s Bravest Dog)
We have all heard the news reports about the soldiers in Afghanistan. We are becoming a bit blasé about hearing ‘another soldier was killed today in Helmand province’. Well, you know, we shouldn’t.

And with the help of reading this book, it brings it all back just how dangerous a tour of duty is for these guys out there. But what we generally DON’T hear about is the work that is done by the dog teams out there. These dogs are highly skilled in their job, be it sniffing out improvised explosive devices or guarding the troops from intruders.

Personally speaking, I do not condone war in any shape or form but Dave and Treo combine to make a formidable team, and are essentially out there not only to protect the soldiers, but also the large civilian population. There was a tv program on recently which followed a photographer that returned to Afghanistan after having lost three of his four limbs as a result of one of these devices. What was brought home vividly was the fact that there are a helluva lot of civilians that lose limbs there too – and not just ‘fighting’ men, but innocent women and children too.

Anyway, off the soap box. What shines through in this book is the close bond between man and his dog. Dave puts his dog’s welfare first and foremost before anything. Treo displays astonishing ‘sniffing’ powers. The book does not go into much detail about the training of the dog, but what is touching is the dialogue between Dave and Treo (although it is obviously not the dog talking – tee hee!). You get the impression that this fake dialogue goes a long way towards keeping Dave ‘sane’.

You DO keep waiting for the inevitable heartbreaking moments, and to this end the book doesn’t disappoint – but some of these come from the least likely sources (the two local dogs that attach themselves to Dave & co…..ah….gulp…where’s the Kleenex!!).

It works out well for both Treo and Dave in the end, and ultimately it is the ‘humanity’ that shines through.

This book is not going to change your or anybody else’s world but what it is is a good read.

There are another couple of books about dogs in Afghanistan that we can recommend – both by Pen Farthing – ‘One Dog at a Time’ and ‘No Place Like Home’. The subject matter is different as these are about saving the stray local dogs. If you are interested then check out the website ( Pen came up to Scotland a couple of years ago to give a talk and slide show for the people of our town and brought one of his rescued dogs with him. It was a fabulous evening – very informative and enlightening. It raised awareness and left us, the audience, in awe at the work that is being done out there.