Canis lupus familiaris, more commonly known as the domestic dog, has been serving his master in conflict for centuries. The Romans trained huge mastiffs for battle alongside the foot soldiers. Reportedly, one Centurion handler could manage four or five of these powerful dogs with leashes gripped in both hands.
Police dogs are fairly well known, but combat dogs less frequently get mention in the media, although they play a significant role, especially in the often chaotic battle with terrorist groups that prefer to mingle with civilian populations. Special Forces have integrated exceptionally-well trained dogs into their units, fitting the canines with some sophisticated kit including body armor, cameras, and tracking devices. Canines will deploy by parachute (tandem jumps) or other means, right alongside the two-legged soldiers. These dogs have a reputation for being fearless and exceptionally loyal.
A significant character in Hunting Savage is a red pit bull named Diesel. In the story, we learn that Diesel was rescued from the Humane Society by Peter Savage, and they develop a strong bond, enduring a deadly pursuit as Peter becomes both hunter and prey. To honor the work of the Humane Society and other non-profits and individuals who tirelessly strive to reduce the suffering of our four-legged companions, I am making a donation from each book sold to the Humane Society of Central Oregon.
I enjoyed bringing Diesel to life in the story, and find dogs fascinating as they often prefer to associate with humans even over their own kind. While people continually focus on what makes one group different from another (race, gender, political affiliation, heritage, social standing, the list is long), dogs seem to be indifferent to the fact that humans and canines are entirely different species. How often dogs treat people with a measure of loyalty and friendship that is lacking in human-to-human interactions.
So it is, at times when the human race does not appear to be so civilized, I think we could learn a lot from dogs. After all, we really aren’t that different.