Thursday, April 2, 2020

No Ordinary Dog - Book Review

Read an Excerpt
If I asked you what you were doing when you learned about the terror of the unfolding 9/11 disaster, I have no doubt that nearly 100% of you could provide, in great detail, your memory of that dark day.

Now, how about May 2, 2011—what can you tell me about that day?  Actually, I can't recall anything about it, but the author of No Ordinary Dog, Will Chesney, was there when the mastermind of September 11th, Osama Bin Laden, was finally brought to justice during one of the most incredible Navy SEAL operations of all time.

Due to the highly classified nature of the ultimate in top secret missions, only one operative's name was released at the time—Cairo—the extraordinary military dog present during the raid.  This is the story of Cairo and Will's journey to achieving their joint, and yet distinct, destinies.  Most of all, it is a poignant tribute to the life-changing power of the human-animal bond.

Chesney knew his destiny very early in life.  All he ever wanted to be was a Navy SEAL.  It was that, or nothing.  Likewise, Cairo, an exquisite Belgian Malinois, was bred, raised, and trained for an equally elite destiny.  Few animals ever make the cut when it comes to serving as a special ops war dog.  Cairo was among the rarest of the rare.

Though I had read books and seen movies about Navy SEALS, nothing ever really drove home the extreme sacrifices made by these rare individuals like No Ordinary Dog.  Reading Chesney's accounts of what he felt and experienced during his SEAL training made me wonder how anyone ever endured that rite of passage.  Likewise, despite reading dozens of books about the process of how service dogs are prepared for their work, this was a very different look into the becoming of a top-of-the-line military counterterrorism dog.  It was fascinating to learn about the motivations and methods that come together to create a weaponized canine capable of functioning at unbelievably complex levels.

Over the course of their tours of duty, there was plenty of action and many memorable moments in service to their country.  If you are like me, though, it will be their final mission that stands out.  When Will is seriously wounded by a grenade explosion, and suffers from the long-term impacts of PTSD and other equally debilitating injuries, it will take the unbreakable bond he shares with Cairo to get him through the greatest challenge of his life.

This is a book for anyone who loves dogs, enjoys military history, appreciates the sacrifices made by our human and canine military forces, or who finds inspiration in the incomparable connection between humans and their animals.  It is a book that will stay with you during this time when our nation is once again shaken to its very core just as it was on that September day so many years ago.

Note: I received an ARC from NetGalley in return for my honest review.  This book will be released on April 21, 2020.  Available for pre-order today.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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14 comments:

  1. I have known many service dogs and am aware of police dogs and dogs now being trained to help patients with medical problems and to detect diseases. But I have great admiration for the work military dogs do just as I admire the men & women in our military and all that they do. I can just imagine what a special dog Cairo must be, along with his "partner", Will Chesney and the special mission they were on.

    Thanks so much for bringing this book to my attention. I look forward to reading it.

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    1. These dogs are beyond amazing. When you consider everything that goes into their breeding, nurture, and extensive training, it's impossible not to appreciate the end result. To be chosen as responsible for handling one of these treasures is surely a high honor. I would love to meet some of these dogs and their humans. They are all super special.

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  2. Oh I like the sounds of this book and will look for it upon release. Uplifting stories about humans and their animals companions will always make me feel and look at situations in a whole different way. These are incredible animals and their human counterparts are pretty amazing too. Thanks for a great recommendation.

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    1. I have a whole new appreciation for our military working dogs and their handlers. They are truly inspirational. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude. I hope you enjoy this read.

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  3. This sounds like a fabulous book. One our whole family would enjoy reading. I remember Cairo from the news. I also remember my husband saying "what a great dog!" Our Navy Seals are quite impressive and American is blessed to have them. I didn't realize they had dogs as part of their team until we heard about Cairo. Well, what can I say? What a great dog!

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    1. Cairo certainly has my respect and gratitude. He more than did his part. This will be a good book for your entire family to read and enjoy. It's the type of book we need right now.

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  4. This sounds like an amazing read, as I love history, and this is without a doubt true history. These people and dogs are a special breed who train to keep us all safe. As always thanks for a great review.

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    1. Indeed, they are a special breed... the men, women, and canines on the elite military teams performing top level missions. The history doesn't get any more real than this. Thanks for stopping by, Sam.

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  5. Dear friend, thank you so much for this review. It's good for all of us to be aware that not only are our service members sacrificing themselves in order to do what they do, but to also be aware of the dogs that are alongside them on many missions, and who often are responsible for saving the service member's lives. Cairo is undoubtedly an extraordinary dog. I will order this book as soon as I can. Thanks again!

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    1. As one who has served, I know you will have unique insights as you read about these military missions. I am grateful for your willingness to serve your country and all of us who love being Americans. I think of all the working military dogs whose stories are never told. So many have sacrificed their lives to protect the lives of other soldiers. I expect you will truly enjoy this book. So good to have your presence here, Nancy.

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  6. No Ordinary Dog sounds like a very interesting book. I am fascinated by how smart dogs are.

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  7. It was a very interesting read. I think we just barely know about the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to canine intelligence. Cairo used many different levels of intelligence and learning to detect dangerous humans as well as hidden explosives, etc. He performed on so many complex levels. It really is astonishing. I share your fascination.

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  8. I love how ReviewThisReviews always introduces me to books I would otherwise know nothing about. I can think of a few people who would enjoy this book. I know I would. I agree with you that we have only touched the surface about canine intelligence. God and Dog, there may be more of a connection than we know. :)

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    1. Indeed, dog is my copilot, as I believe God pours out love, healing, protection, important lessons, and all good things through every dog in creation. I do think this book and its stories will appeal to a wide audience of readers. I know I learned a great deal and enjoyed getting behind the scenes of military working dog operations. I do love me some covert operations!

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