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Dog Lovers Book Club - April 2022

As we prepare to commemorate ANZAC Day and remember the Australians who served in war, we dedicate our 
April 2022 Book Club to those who fought for our freedoms and our four-legged heroes past and present - from the detection and military dogs that saved countless lives during conflicts and the mascots that brought comfort to others, to the service and therapy dogs that today transform the lives of so many. 
"Lest we forget... Our four legged diggers served too".
by Anthony Hill

This collection of short true stories is a celebration of the forgotten heroes of war, the animals that have served alongside Australian forces.

In Darwin in 1942, Gunner’s barking alerted an entire army base of impending air raids, well before the enemy planes appeared on radar. Following an ambush, Sarbi the explosive detection dog was held captive by the Taliban for over a year, before heading home a hero. And when 135,000 horses left Australia for the First World War, why was General Bridges’ charger Sandy the only one to return home?

Drawing from first-hand sources and interviews with those who were there, Anthony Hill brings to life the loyalty and courage of these animals, and the love their soldiers felt for them.

From the donkeys that carried the wounded at Gallipoli to the dolphins that hunted underwater mines in Iraq, these animal heroes are at the heart of some of the most remarkable stories in Australia’s military history.

This fully revised and updated edition features inspiring true stories of heroism and sacrifice, many of them never told before. A fantastic read to discover those unsung heroes!

Paperback, 320 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia, 3rd April 2017

RRP: $32.99 from all good bookstores and online. For more details, visit

The happy-go-lucky rescue dog who changed his owner's life
by Tess Swan, Lynne Barrett-Lee

From the streets of Romania, to the show ring at Crufts, Incredible Kratu is the moving story of a lovable street dog who healed a broken, autistic woman, and how, together, they continue to bring joy to everyone they meet.

A solitary child who only really found solace in nature, Tess Eagle Swan ran away from home aged sixteen and, by her late twenties, had already survived violence and drug addiction. In the following decade, life spiralled further out of control, as substance abuse filled the hole meaningful relationships should have occupied. Something had to change.

Tess had always loved animals, so when she saw a post on Facebook about the plight of two dogs in Romania, she was moved to take action, helping find homes for both. It was the first step on the road that led her to Kratu - the Carpathian/Mioritic Shepherd cross she adopted in 2014.

From his humble beginnings on a Roma camp in Transylvania, Kratu has gone on to become a canine international treasure. 

Now a trained assistance and therapy dog, he has brought joy to millions with his lovable antics - not least with his legendary appearances at Crufts. But the role he has played in Tess's story is more compelling still. After a lifetime of distress, Tess and Kratu's bond allowed Tess to finally learn to love herself and answer some of the questions behind her troubled beginnings.

Incredible Kratu is the inspirational true story of this unlikely pair, who found in each other the love and support they needed to beat the odds and turn both their lives around.

Hardcover, 288 pages
Publisher: Bonnier, 3rd March 2022

Price: $34.75 at

A New Science Blueprint for Raising Healthy and Happy Canine Companions

by Rodney Habib, Karen Shaw Becker

Two of the world's most popular and trusted pet care advocates reveal new science on how to delay ageing and provide a long, happy, healthy life for our canine companions. 

Over the past few decades, many dogs have been getting sicker and dying prematurely. Why?

Rodney Habib
and Dr Karen Shaw Becker have gathered the best wisdom from top geneticists, microbiologists and longevity researchers across the globe to answer this question. 

Now, they will provide the practical, proven tools to protect our loyal four-legged friends, interviewing people whose dogs have lived into their twenties - and even their thirties - along the way.

The Forever Dog plan focuses on the latest scientific research surrounding food and nutrition, movement, environmental exposure and stress reduction, from the pros and cons of various types of pet food - including what commercial manufacturers don't want us to know - to the role our own lifestyles and vets' choices play.

This definitive dog care guide empowers us with the knowledge we need to keep our dogs health and happy for years to come.

Paperback, 464 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 27th October 2021

RRP: $34.99 from all good book stores and online. For details, visit

The Life and Afterlife of a Canadian Canine War Hero

by Grant Hayter-Menzies, Mark Zuehlke (Foreword by)

The unusual and moving tale of Muggins, a famed fundraising dog who became a mascot of the Canadian Red Cross during the First World War.

Born in 1913 in the home of a millionaire philanthropist, Muggins was a purebred Spitz, a sharp-eared, sharp-nosed, fluffy-tailed sort of dog most often seen in the lap of a lady of leisure. But Muggins defied the odds, rising to unlikely fame during the First World War, when he became Victoria, BC's most diminutive fundraiser. 

He was taught to wander through downtown during the war with two change donation boxes tied to his back, and ultimately collected the equivalent of $400,000 for charities and causes including the Red Cross, the Blue Cross, food for poor children and prisoners of war, victims of Jewish pogroms, to name a few.

During his short life, Muggins visited ferries and freight liners stopping in Victoria. He appeared in photos with the Prince of Wales and with famous Canadian general Sir Arthur Currie, among other celebrated admirers. He was also a favourite of the rank and file, helping cheer up wounded soldiers at Esquimalt Military Hospital. Muggins was made an honorary first lieutenant by the United States military for his service raising funds in Seattle. And he was so loved by departing soldiers he was more than once nearly taken along to the theatre of war.

Based on valuable documents, memorabilia, newspaper and newsreel accounts of Muggins' brief but brilliant career, this book tackles the difficult question of human use of animals in war, at home and on the battlefield. It explores how crucial animals, specifically dogs, have been to wounded veterans recovering from physical and emotional damage--both in Muggins' lifetime and now.

Paperback, 224 pages
Published: 19th October 2021

RRP: $45.75 from

by Michael Trant

Wild Dogs is a page-turning action thriller set in the WA outback, introducing Australia’s answer to Jack Reacher.

In the drought-ridden rangelands of Western Australia, Gabe Ahern makes his living trapping wild dogs for local station owners.

Still coming to terms with his wife’s death – and the part he played in it – the old bushman leads a solitary life. Until one morning, when he rescues a young Afghan man, Amin, from certain execution.

Now, with a gang of people smugglers on his tail and the lives of Amin's family on the line, Gabe is drawn into a ruthless game of cat and mouse. His main opponent is Chase Fowler, a kangaroo hunter with bush skills as wily and sharp as his own.

As the old dogger and roo-shooter go head to head, Gabe will need all his cunning to come out of this alive…

Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia, Imprint: Bantam Australia, 1 February 2022

RRP: $32.99 from all good bookstores and online.

For more information, please visit


by Julia Donaldson, illustratred by Sara Ogilvie

Written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson and stunningly illustrated by the award-winning Sara Ogilvie, The Hospital Dog is a big-hearted tale about a very special, very brave dog. This board book edition of the story is perfect for little ones.

Here is a dog, a Dalmatian called Dot, Is she quite ordinary? NO, SHE'S NOT!

After their breakfast and a swim in the sea, Dot and her owner Rose jump on the bus to the hospital. Dot loves visiting the children of Wallaby Ward and they're always pleased to see her too; from a crying baby to a bored teenager - a pat, a stroke and a cuddle with Dot cheers everyone up. But the work of the hospital dog doesn't stop there and when one of her patients is in trouble, it's up to Dot to save the day!

Board Book, 30 pages
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia, 8th March 2022

Price: $14.25 from

Dreams of the Wilderness

by Thurston Jones

This is a story of a litter of pups as they try and find a home with the travelling fair.

Taow, Bindi and Bubs are a litter of homeless dogs who find shelter and protection following a travelling fair. They look forward to all the new smells and fun that they will all have when the fair finally finds a new place to settle. After a day of fun, they circle to rest in their favourite place and it's only then that they are able to dream the impossible.

Carnival Dogs is an uplifting, rhyming story that explores the importance of family bonds, friendships and belonging. They wake each morning and fill their days and nights with as much as life can give them.

This simple story relates to the simple rhythm of life which could be located anywhere in the world. The homeless dogs learn to cope and make the most of what life has given them. They eat, exercise, stay clean and maintain their joyful spirit every day and night. It is when they dream, we realise that they are able to transcend themselves to even greater joy.

This beautifully illustrated picture book is a great bedtime read or as a classroom story to encourage discussions on animal kindness and the environment.

Teaching kids about nature is an important part of their education and also an important part of how they can make a difference in the future. Each picture below may be used to teach children about an issue in nature.

Paperback, 30 pages
Published: 15th February 2022
For Ages: 4 - 9 years old

RRP: $20.58 from

by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Mark Jackson & Heather Potter 

A tender, moving story of a child waiting at home for the return of his father from serving in WWI.

During World War I, Australian and New Zealand soldiers on the front were sent Christmas care packages in a tin billy. The Anzac Billy is the heartwarming story of a little boy packing a billy with all his father’s favourite things – added to by mum and grandma – even though he realises there is no way that the billy can actually go to a particular soldier.

Paperback, 32 pages
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, 1st March 2022
For Ages: 5 - 7 years old

RRP: $16.99 at

by Peter Millett (Author), Trish Bowles (Author, Designer)

In the middle of the night, in the middle of the winter, in the middle of a war, a puppy was born.

Inspired by true events, The Anzac Puppy fictionalises the life of a Harlequin Great Dane called Freda, the mascot of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade that served in World War 1.

She was acquired by a Sergeant Ashby who probably named the dog after a young woman from a family that befriended the young soldier so far from home. The dog survived the war, and thanks to a campaign led by a retired serviceman, her remains are commemorated by a headstone in Staffordshire, and her collar and the original headstone are in the Army Museum at Waiouru in New Zealand.

In Peter Millett’s hands, these events have become a love story, with a young soldier called Sam acquiring the dog from a girl called Lucy when her family couldn’t afford to keep it. He takes the dog to the battlefront, and together they survive the war. Sam keeps his promise to bring the dog back to Lucy safe and sound, and they fall in love and marry. Their first child is named Freda.

The Anzac Puppy is a simple story about the reality of war, hardship, friendship and love. It is a charming story, yet authentic in tone.

Paperback – Picture Book, 32 pages
Publisher: Scholastic New Zealand, 1st March 2015

RRP: $19.96 (free shipping) at

by David Hill (Author), Fifi Colston (Illustrator)

The powerful story of one young man’s fight in the trenches… and the little messenger dog who saved him.

When the Publishing department at Scholastic received a copy of a CD of the haunting, lyrical song The Red Poppy from Canadian musician/teacher Rob Kennedy, they just knew they had to do something with it and approached David Hill to see if he’d be interested in writing a war story for a picture book – his first.

Five minutes... Two minutes... Young soldier Jim McLeod waits in the trenches of World War I for the order to attack the enemy. 

With him are his friends and Nipper, the messenger dog. When they charge across no-man’s land Jim is shot... and finds himself face to face with an enemy soldier. 

A sensitively-written war story that shows the similarities between men on both sides. Includes CD with hauntingly beautiful song.

Publisher‏: Scholastic New Zealand; 1st edition (1 March 2013)
Paperback:‎ 40 pages

Price: $27.59 from

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