Dogs for Defense: Background information when reading A Man of His Own

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A Man of His Own

by Susan Wilson

A Man of His Own
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2013, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2015, 368 pages

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Beyond the Book:
Dogs for Defense

On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked and the US entered the war. The value of dogs in the military had been proven many times, particularly during WWI, as they were used by the European armies as sentries, message-carriers and fox-hole clearers (of rats before the soldiers entered.). Although there were relatively few military dogs in the US at the time, the need for them was clear.

Dogs for DefenseA private citizen came to the rescue. Mrs. Alene Erlanger, a well-known, highly respected poodle breeder based in New York, created the Dogs for Defense program. The American Kennel Club supported her idea. For the most part, the public reaction was positive and people were eager to send their dogs to be a part of the war effort. Even Hollywood got involved in the Dogs for Defense program. Greer Garson sent Cliquot, her poodle; Mary Pickford sent Silver, her German shepherd; and Rudy Vallee sent King, his Doberman. It is estimated that 40,000 dogs were sent over a two-year period, and about 10,...

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