Sunday, May 27, 2007

Yesterday I Read a Book

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I define myself by books and reading, so you won't be surprised. I picked up the book at the local library just after 2 pm and by 11pm I had finished it, with interruptions for several things like a meeting ( 1 1/2 hrs) and making dinner, etc. In fact, yesterday I was supposed to be planting the flowers in my front containers but they will have to wait another day. Maybe later today, but it is still chilly out, and windy, and I hate wind.

So, cut the suspense. What book was it, you say. Well a little more teasing first. I found the book on the site of one of my regular blog reads, Eurodogtraining. There's a little story to why I read Eurodog. One day I received the following email:

Hello,
I found your address on your blog profile. I look at it because being "into dogs" I was attracted by the picture of your Westie.
I also noticed you mentioned blogrolling on one of Winchester Whisperer's comments. I went onto blogrolling this morning ; I managed to register but could not understand what to do next.
Can you be of help?
Thank you; this is quite new to me and I am not very computer literate.
Enjoy reading your blog.
Very cold but beautiful spring day here in Brussels.
Regards
Eurodog

You see I had helped Winchester Whisperer establish a blogroll, using Blogrolling.com, so I helped Eurodog establish hers with instructions via email. Even after she succeeded I continued to read Eurodog's blog, although, despite being a lifelong dog lover, I don't currently have a dog, only a dog avatar.

Well Eurodog is more than "being into dogs", a lot more in fact. She's the Secretary and Head of Obedience at one of Brussel's largest dog clubs and her posts are interesting and serious looks at different facets of dogs.

So a week ago she posted this interesting report, telling about a book written by a United States marine officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman, who had rescued a dog on his third tour in Iraq and in which he narrates the tale from this meeting of the Iraqi puppy to now living in California with Lava, the dog. From Bagdad, with Love is the title.

Intrigued, I immediately put the book on hold at the library and it arrived yesterday. From the first word I could not put it down, except for the above noted interruptions. This post is already too long so I'm not going to go into too many details, but only want to say that this is a very heartwarming tale. Despite the horrors of this ongoing war, and there are some things in the book that you'd rather not know about, this marine officer, with the help of many other people including an NPR reporter, a few Iraqis and some very determined dog people in the USA, managed to bring this dog out of it.

Asked by a reporter in the USA, when he is waiting for the arrival of his dog, "What would you tell people who might suggest your time would have been better spent saving people instead of a dog?" he doesn't answer.

But in the last few lines of his book he says:
Why wasn't my time spent helping people instead of a puppy? I don't know, and I don't care, but at least I saved something.
I think you can say that this marine in his three tours of duty in Iraq did help a lot of people and most importantly he helped the morale of his fellow marines as they all tried to keep this little puppy alive and send him to safety.

Thank you Eurodog. I'm very glad you wrote about this book and prompted me to read it.


PS. The Highest Tide is still to come, don't despair.


29 comments:

Janice Thomson said...

This sounds like my kind of book Jmb. I am going to look for it this week...Thanks for the info.

Sienna said...

No way! One of our radio guys (you might remember John Laws?) chatted to this man not that long ago, he was an amazing interview, the Lt was so thoughtful and interesting, he and this dog bonded unbelievably...I loved hearing this man's thoughts!

An incredible journey for him and the puppy; *Lava*..that was the name of his unit there (I think)...Jay was just great to listen to. Lava has a great home and someone so loving to share it with.

Pam

Love the pic of that beautiful azalea! and Ketchikan, I would be worried about mudslides? the houses so perched on the side of the hills, such amazing scenery, the most beautiful photos JMB

jmb said...

Hi Janice,
It was a great read, very quick, just under 200 pages. If you love dogs don't miss it.

jmb said...

Hi Sienna,
I would love to have heard him talk. Lucky you.
The group of marines were called Lava Dogs because they trained on the lava slopes in Hawaii.
It seems he met his wife through Lava, that is Lava met his wife's dog in the park and the rest is history.
regards
jmb

Donnetta Lee said...

All innocent creatures deserve to be protected and saved! This marine must have a good heart.
Donnetta

jmb said...

Hi Donnetta Lee,
If only it were so, that they all could be saved. But this one was, despite all the rules against such a thing. It's a very delightful story.
regards
jmb

Sarabeth said...

I'll have to find a copy. My father's unit in Vietnam adopted a pig as their pet. None of them wanted to get attached to a dog. However, Dad always said that the pig turned out to be as smart, or perhaps smarter, than most dogs.

jmb said...

Hi Sarabeth,
It must be very tempting to get attached to an animal in such a situation, although, for obvious reasons, against the rules.
Was it a Vietnamese pot bellied pig? I've never seen one but they are supposed to be very clean and smart.
regards
jmb

ipanema said...

That's a heartwarming story indeed. :)

Eurodog said...

Thank you for your compliments, jmb. Much appreciated.

lady macleod said...

Oh I like this story already. thank you for sharing this find. I doubt (sigh) I can find it here, but I shall put it on my as-soon-as-I-go-west-and-fill-my-case-with-books list.

Omega Mum said...

Sounds delightful. Frankly, I don't think there's any point trying to score every action, charitable or not, on some sort of universal moral ratings scale. You do your best, spread a little happiness and if you want to rescue a pup on the way, just get it. PS We have a Cairn terrier, dirtier and ruder than a Westie, and absolutely unrepentant - always.

jmb said...

Hi ipanema,
I thought it was so. Something good has to come out of these awful situations every now and again.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Your welcome Eurodog. Thanks for sharing the book with us originally.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

I guess it's not easy to find English books there, but you won't be there forever. Then think of the pleasure at catching up.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Omega Mum

I think we all have to do the best we can in our own small sphere and hope it spreads like a ripple farther and farther.
I love Cairns and when I got my Westie, no longer with us, I was looking for a Cairn. I saw her and said well she's just a white Cairn, I'll take her. She had come on the market because her owner was ill and couldn't look after her 5 month old Westie. So she was a kind of rescue dog too.
Thanks for dropping by,
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Lady MacLeod, I didn't greet you when I answered your comment but I guess you knew it was meant for you.
Sorry, a senior moment.
regards
jmb

Josie said...

JMB, I would fall in love with the book, just from the cover. Humans and animals (especially dogs) have a special bond, so I can understand the marine officer wanting to rescue the dog. It's completely understandable. When I was growing up on the Island, we were always bringing home "found" animals. We even had a baby bear whose mother had accidentally been killed by logging. I think it's a human instinct to do that.

Josie

jmb said...

Hi Josie,
Isn't the cover precious? Like a baby asleep on its mother's breast.

I bet your mother loved that, you bringing home all the lost things you found. goodness me, what happened to the bear? Did you give it to wildlife people?
regards
jmb

Lee said...

Just reading this post brought tears to my eyes...goodness knows what I'll be like if I read the book! I'll cry buckets of tears, no doubt!

Sienna...how interesting that Lawsie interviewed the author. I love John Laws' programme but unfortunately am no longer able to get it where I'm now living.

jmb said...

Hi Lee,
Yes, I'm afraid I was crying away reading the book. But the endeavour was successful so I could get past the rest. Of course I can cry at the drop of a hat, so this is not unusual but I think it would affect the hardest heart.
regards
jmb

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Fab post, jmb. Isn't blogging wonderful - how one thing leads to another, I mean? I saw that post at Eurodog's too and immediately wanted to read the book - I want to even more now I have read your opinion. Your library must be very efficient, btw!

jmb said...

Hi WCLC
Well don't buy it because it's quite short and probably expensive for you.
It must be frustrating for you trying to get books. Is there an Amazon.it
yet? Do you have a Feltrinelli in Modica? Books are rather expensive in Italy unless they have made published them in paperback. Although maybe this book has been translated into Italian since it has been translated into Dutch.
regards
jmb

Voyager said...

Thanks for the description, now I have to read this book. Sounds like a more gritty and intriguing version of "Marley and Me".
V.

jmb said...

Hi voyager,
would you believe I was reading both Marley and Me and this book at the same time. Well I interrupted Marley and Me to quickly read this one.
regards
jmb

elleeseymour said...

I've heard about this book too, it sounds fascinating, it's wonderful that you can learn so much from other bloggers too.

jmb said...

Hi Ellee,
In the few months since I started blogging I have learned an enormous amount about so many different things. New book titles being just one of those things.
regards
jmb

Liz said...

That sounds great. I'll look out for it.

jmb said...

Hi Liz,
I think any dog person would enjoy this book, a little sad but ultimately triumphant.
regards
jmb