Devotion of Dogs: The Price of Loyalty
Earlier this year I posted a review and commentary on award-winning author Kirby Larson’s recent release, DUKE. If you missed it, I hope you’ll check it our here.
Today on public radio’s THIS AMERICAN LIFE each segment focused on animals. The first one reported on the story of War Dogs, the program to urge Americans with pet dogs to voluntarily turn them over to the army for use as war service dogs during World War II.
Their website offers additional links, including this war training video used in the recruitment promotions. I found myself very conflicted while listening to the episode, and yet it provided information we should have.
The report referenced Susan Orlean’s book, which came out in paperback recently: RIN TIN TIN: THE LIFE AND LEGEND. Rin Tin Tin was a universally adored movie star (and eventually a television icon, preceding Lassie). His immense popularity was used to convince young children of their patriotic duty to “loan” their dogs to the war effort. This aspect of social programming and public pressure plays an important role in Larson’s DUKE.
I hope you’ll listen to the program and then read DUKE, which does what historical fiction does best: allows readers to experience the truth of history by identifying with characters who live out its consequences.