#930 – Nat. Geo. Kids – Paws of Courage by Nancy Furstinger

paws courage Paws of Courage: True Tales of Heroic Dogs that Protect and Serve
Written by Nancy Furstinger
National Geographic Kids  4/12/2016
160 pages  Ages 10+

“Inside each
beats the heart
of a hero . . .”

“Wars recruit more than just human soldiers. Our canine companions also serve in the line of duty and under fire, whether helping police protect our home turf or accompanying soldiers on missions abroad. Some search for us when we are lost, perform fearless feats to rescue us when we’re in trouble, or work tirelessly to sniff out a suspect who could do us harm. But most importantly, they teach us the meaning of bravery.” [inside jacket]

If ever there was an accurate book title, Paws of Courage would be at the top. The dogs profiled are all heroes. They are loyal, hard-working, determined dogs with one thing in mind: working the trade they trained so hard to learn. Okay, two things in mind. These dogs are also very conscious about the safety of their handler partner. Case in point, Azza (Belgian Malinois) a military dog on tour in Afghanistan. Her job was to sniff out “improvised explosive devices,” aka BOMBS! When her handler was hurt, she refused to leave his side.



Paws of Courage highlights the stories of twenty-two magnificent and yes, courageous dogs and the bonds they have with their beloved handlers.. You will begin with a little history. Sergeant Stubby (pit bull terrier mix) was the first dog to receive a rank, thanks his capture of a spy in WWI. During WWII, a pilot refused to leave his beloved military dog on the ground when he flew missions, so into the plane Smokey (Yorkshire terrier) went, flying every mission the pilot flew.


Chips’ (German shepherd) family volunteered him for WWII. He stopped a surprise attack—twice! She also single-paw-edly attacked an enemy machine gun nest in Italy, forcing ten enemy soldiers to surrender. Judy, (English pointer) a navy dog during WWII ended up on a deserted island with some of the crew after Japan sunk their ship. Without fresh water, the soldiers were not going to survive long. Judy came to their rescue. She found a water spring by smelling the ground and then dug down until the water flowed.

1Paws of Courage is a smaller book, about six inches square, but it packs a lot of interesting information about how important canines are to our survival. Dogs work in search and rescues, such as Bretagne (golden retriever) who located survivors at the World Trade Towers. Mas ((Newfoundland) a lifeguard on the Italian beaches. She can often be seen jumping out of a helicopter right into the ocean and then towing in a troubled swimmer, mostly thanks to her webbed feet and her tail (used as a rudder).



Whether military, police, or search and rescue, these dogs understand loyalty, determination, and hard work. The dogs walk right into danger—for us. Kids will love the short profiles and the interesting photographs of the dogs, such as the one skydiving with its handler. This format of short paragraphs, photographs, and small text boxes with extra information will also work well with reluctant readers. The small book will entice some youngsters into considering careers as dog handlers.

Paws of Courage profiles working dogs of various breeds. The photographs are usual National Geographic fare: extremely well shot and highly interesting. Paws of Courage is one more in a long line of excellent books from National Geographic Kids.

Interesting Aside: Rin Tin Tin, the famous television star, was a WWI “defector.” She was a German war dog abandoned by the Germans and found on the battlefield by American soldier Lee Duncan. I bet Rin Tin Tin immediately swore allegiance to America, her new home.

rin tin tin and lee duncan

Rin Tin Tin

PAWS OF COURAGE: THE TRUE TALES OF HEROIC DOGS THAT PROTECT AND SERVE. Text copyright © 2016 by Nancy Furstinger. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Martin Schoeller/National Geographic Creative, et al. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, National Geographic Kids, Washington, DC.

AmazonIndie BooksNational Geographic Kids

Find Paws of Courage on Goodreads HERE.
Dogs on Deployment:  http://dogsondeployment.org
Pets for Vets:  http://pets-for-vets.com
Search Dog Foundation:  http://searchdogfoundation.org
Gizmo’s Gift:  http://gizmosgift.org
U S War Dogs Association:  http://uswardogs.org
Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs:  http://watetrescuedogs.com

Nancy Furstinger:  http://www.nancyfurstinger.com/
Follow on Twitter          @AnimalAuthor

National Geographic Kids:  http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/
Follow on Twitter          @NGKids

National Geographic Kids is an imprint of National Geographic Society.

Reprinted with permission from Paws of Courage © 2016 by Nancy Furstinger, National Geographic Kids, an imprint of National Geographic Society., Photographs © 2016 by Martin Schoeller/National Geographic Creative, et al.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Paws of Courage: True tales of Heroic Dogs That Protect and Serve
Written by Nancy Furstinger
National Geographic Kids 4/12/2016


6 thoughts on “#930 – Nat. Geo. Kids – Paws of Courage by Nancy Furstinger

  1. These dogs’ loyalties to their handlers are mind boggling to me. It’s no wonder why dogs are considered man’s (and woman’s) best friend! I need to get my paws on this one with its stellar Nat Geo photography.


    • It is awe-inspiring. The city I live in just lost a police dog. It ran ahead of the officer, as trained, and the —- (add any bad name you wish), shot him in the face. It makes me sick. Yet, I know there are a couple of dogs in the rescue that would jump infront of an assailant to protect me and my home. It’s what dogs do. Now cats . . . they might send a warning text.


    • 😆 Well, Cupcake, if you survived the jump into a puddle, I bet you could do the lifesaving job in Italy. You know, the one where Newfoundland dogs jump out of helicopters into the wide open ocean? Please send pictures (before and after).


  2. Kids love stories about service/military dogs — and so do I. Great list of books. I love the articles National Geographic Kids share. Remember the Rin Tin Tin TV show.


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