Tag: K9

Beautiful Joe: A Dog’s Story

An amazing Christmas present …

I received this wonderful book as a Christmas present when I was a young boy and loved it, reading it many times over the years. The copy I received as a present had the older cover shown near the bottom of this post.

I have read many dog stories over the years including Juneau the Sleigh Dog, White Fang, Call of the Wild, Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, Frosty, and, of course, Beautiful Joe, which was always one of my favorites.

I guess I have recently had a resurgence of interest in dog stories because a dog plays a key role in my book Serpents Underfoot and its upcoming sequel, Montagnard.

I tried to order a copy with the same cover as the edition I originally was given, but could only find it through ABE Books, and the seller wanted $275 for it. So, I settled for a newer edition from Amazon. But, how I wish I still had my original copy!

A truly wonderful tale …

beautiful joe

This is indeed one of the most beloved stories in the English language

Originally published as a novel in 1894, “Beautiful Joe” is based on the true story of a real dog from the town of Meaford in southern Ontario. Written by Margaret Marshall Saunders in 1893, this wonderful, heartwarming book was the first Canadian book to sell one million copies and it was the winning entry in a literary contest sponsored by the American Humane Education Society.

Margaret Saunders originally heard the tale of this dog, who had actually been abused and then rescued as depicted in the story, from her sister-in-law, Louise Moore and it was Louise’s father, Walter Moore, who had rescued the dog on which this tale is based in 1890.

About Beautiful Joe

The real Beautiful Joe was an Airedale-type dog. He was medium-sized, brown, and described as likely being part bull terrier and part fox terrier. He was also described as a mongrel, a cur, and a mutt.

The town of Meaford now has a park and statue honoring the real Beautiful Joe and, in 1994, a private heritage society was created to preserve the Moore home and establish a museum.

The story is told as an autobiography from the dog’s point of view and recounts his earliest memories of his mother, their cruel owner, and his rescue after being horribly abused, as well as his wonderful life with the “Morris” family. Beautiful Joe is inspired to tell his life’s story in the belief that it will please his mistress.

And indeed, Saunders’s story immediately makes reference to the story of Black Beauty in her story, Beautiful Joe. Saunders does not refer to the book by name but instead, writes (from Joe’s perspective) “I have seen my mistress laughing and crying over a little book that she says is a story of a horse’s life”.

Joe goes on to explain that he will write the story of a dog’s life, to similarly please his owner. Within the narrative of this story, Beautiful Joe is directly inspired to tell his tale by the story of Black Beauty.

Saunders bases her fictionalized version of the story in a small town in Maine, and recounts the many wonderful adventures of Joe and the other animals and people in and around the “Morris” family farm. The farm, it’s little barn and barnyard are the scene for many delightful tales that will warm your heart, make you chuckle, and even perhaps bring a tear to your eye.

Perhaps most importantly, hidden within “Beautiful Joe,” is a powerful call to end cruelty to animals. And, it is a message the author delivers effectively through the vehicle of a narrative that can be enjoyed and loved by generations of readers, both young and old.

beautiful joe
The cover of my original edition of Beautiful Joe

My thoughts …

It was a real pleasure to read Joe’s story again. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so, that I think I may re-read some of the other dog tales mentioned above. And, I guess as I do, I will review them here.

I give this book an easy Five Out of Five Stars for readers of all ages. Margaret Marshall Saunders’ tale clearly illustrates why dogs have earned their reputation for being man’s best friend..

5 Rules For Scooping Dog Poop!

Scoop Your Dog’s Poop!

With a very long history of owning dogs, often several at a time, I have cleaned up a lot of dog poop in my life! It is simply what you, as a responsible dog owner, do. So, it is frustrating to me how so many dog owners just can’t seem to be responsible enough to do the same. Do we need to institute dog poop police?  Or, perhaps task the NSA with spying on non-poop-scooping-compliant dog owners? Do we need Big Brother watching us? That’s a bit scary, so I hope it doesn’t come to that. Cleaning up after your pet is part of being a responsible dog owner. Can’t we figure out a way to promote that message without creeping everyone out?

The Five Rules of Scooping Poop!

Always pick it up

This seems obvious enough, and yet we all know dog owners who choose not to exercise this common courtesy.

One important reason to pick it up is simple cleanliness. Then there is also the fact that parasites like giardia, roundworm, hookworm, and all those other intestinal worms can accumulate in areas where dog feces are not picked up. Pet waste also has a nasty effect on groundwater.

But mostly, I say pick it up because dog crap is disgusting. I don’t want to walk down a sidewalk or trail and smell an offending odor, only to realize I’ve stepped in your dog’s poop and will now have a reminder of your lousy dog poop etiquette for the rest of my walk.

Responsibly dispose of poop

poopHonestly, most of us will be very happy if you simply pick it up. Where it goes after that is of little concern to many people. One way to dispose of your dog’s doodoo might be to simply flush it down the toilet. But I’m afraid with the amount of poop some dogs produce, you might need  to have a plumber on speed dial. However, if it is properly bagged and sealed, trash cans work fine. Also, there are poop disposal stations in may parks today.

Deal with diarrhea by preventing it

The best way to deal with loose doggy stool is to prevent it to begin with by keeping your pet on a healthy diet.  However if it is already too late for that, you can certainly sprinkle a little dirt, sand or mulch on it before scooping it up.

Pick up and dispose of poop even in the great outdoors

When you’re out communing with nature, that old adage “if you pack it in, pack it out” still applies … even to pet waste.  And, please don’t just hang the full poop bag on a tree branch like some people do. That’s just plain crude and disgusting.

Continue reading “5 Rules For Scooping Dog Poop!”

Trident Warriors: The U.S. Navy SEAL’s K9 Warriors

K9: Trident Warriors

trident warriorsI stumbled on this great book about the U.S. Navy’s Trident Warriors while doing research for my novel, Serpents Underfoot. The hero in my novel, a U.S.Navy SEAL currently deployed in Afghanistan, is sent to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina to meet and train with his new partner and the newest member of their team, Ajax. Ajax is a Belgian Malinois.

I am certainly a dog lover. It is hard for me to not be. Name another creature on this planet that gives his master such unconditional love and loyalty … and asks nothing in return. A dog will even have this bond with a totally undeserving abusive, neglective or cruel master. That is the depth of the partnership a dog forms with his human.

Because of this, as I grow older, I find I have a hard time trusting people who do not like dogs. I also find I have trouble trusting people my dog does not like. Oh well!

German Shepherd vs. Belgian Malinois

So to be honest, Ajax started out to be a German Shepherd. Since I love German Shepherds … and my German Shepherd, Sophie, is a great dog. However, after the research, this changed. My main character’s dog is now a Belgian Malinois. The Malinois is very similar in most respects, abilities, and traits to the German Shepherd. It is just, on average, about 10 pounds lighter. From my research, I now understand this is a big deal when jumping out of combat aircraft with a dog strapped to your chest. So, Ajax became a Belgian Malinois.

About Mike Ritland

As a Navy SEAL deployed in Iraq, the author, Mike Ritland, got to see several military working dogs in action. He knew at that moment that he’d found his true purpose in life. Ritland started his own company, training and supplying dogs for the SEAL teams, U.S. Government, and Department of Defense. Mike understood that less than 1% of all working dogs could make the cut and then go on to contribute to the success of our nation’s elite combat units. He wanted to provide a reliable source for the best trained, most steadfast, courageous canine warriors. These highly specialized canines had to meet tough standards and pass rigorous selection tests before any serious training could even begin.

These K9 Trident Warriors are highly trained working dogs, capable of handling both detection and apprehension work in the most dangerous and extreme environments. Like the Navy SEAL, they can do their jobs under intense battlefield conditions. They are certainly fiercely aggressive and athletic. But, these dogs also develop a close bond with their handlers and the other team members. As true members of their teams, these proud K9 warriors are, like their human counterparts, unwavering in their devotion to duty. Strong, tough, and disciplined. These dogs take it to the enemy, despite any pain, injury, or fear.

A New York Times Bestseller

Reading this book, Trident K9 Warriors, gave me real insights into these elite canines. I learned about the breeds, how they train, and the extreme missions they undertake. They save countless lives and ask for little in the way of reward. From detecting explosives to eliminating the bad guys, these powerful dogs are also some of the smartest and most highly skilled working animals on the planet. If you want to learn about these amazing dogs, the sacrifices they make and the heroic actions they take on the battlefield, then this is a book you should most certainly read.

K9 Trident Warriors … a Really Good Read

This is a great book about military working dogs. And, I have read several. This book tells their tale in a realistic, honest way. While reading this book you cannot help but come to love and admire these dogs who courageously put themselves between their handler or their team … and danger. All they ask in return is a pat on the head, a treat, or a kind word.

Mike Ritland does a great job of conveying the rigors of Seal dog selection and training. In addition, Ritland also incorporates historical facts about military working dogs and how they evolved into the elite spec-ops K9 warriors of today. Ritland manages to tell their story honestly and without divulging any sensitive operational secrets that could put Seals and their K-9 teams active in the field in danger.

An Authentic Telling

Ritland’s book gives the most detailed descriptions of these dogs, their abilities, and their missions you can read. To get any more real, you would have to be out working with the dogs yourself. Mike Ritland has an amazingly in-depth understanding of these dogs. Ritland tells presents his narrative in a very readable way. It is enjoyable and easily holds your attention. You find your heart captured by these dogs and their devotion to their handlers and their duty. It is easy to tell Ritland has a real love and admiration for these dogs.

You will not find a more realistic personal account of these heroic dogs anywhere. I came away with a whole new appreciation for these K9 Trident Warriors and their U.S. Navy SEAL handlers. Furthermore, these teams deserve the gratitude and respect of all Americans. They operate at a higher level. Furthermore, it is a level that is almost unthinkable for many of us. If you like military history, if you love dogs, you should read this book. It one of the best of its kind. Therefore, I highly recommend it.