Deployed to Iraq's infamous Triangle of Death in 2004, Sergeant Mike Dowling and his military working dog Rex were part of the first Marine Corps military K9 teams sent to the front lines of combat since Vietnam. It was Rex's job to sniff out weapons caches, suicide bombers, and IEDs, the devastating explosives that wreaked havoc on troops and civilians alike. It was Mike's job to lead Rex into the heart of danger time and time again, always trusting Rex to bring them both back alive.
Dowling had turned twenty-five and Rex three just after they arrived in Iraq. Neither of them had any idea what to expect, and no training could fully prepare them for this job. An animal lover since childhood, Dowling had fostered and trained dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and he was determined to serve in the military's K9 unit after joining the Marines. On their first patrols in Iraq, Rex suffered a seemingly incurable fear of explosions and gunfire, but with Mike at the other end of his leash, Rex gained the courage to perform his duty.
Dowling takes us into the searing 130-degree heat, the choking dust, and the ever-present threat of violent attack that seemed to permeate Iraq's streets. We experience Dowling's visceral fear of walking down an IED-laden alley where dismemberment or death can come with any footstep, only his trusted partner, Rex, by his side.Loyalty is one of the hallmarks of any good Marine, and nowhere is that quality more evident than in this astonishing account of Mike Dowling and Rex's wartime experiences.
A moving story of how a man and a dog developed complete trust in each other in the face of terrible adversity, Sergeant Rex is an unforgettable tale of sacrifice, courage, and love.
©2011 Mike Dowling and Damien Lewis (P)2013 Tantor
"The best kind of nonfiction - an impossible-to-put-down true life story." (San Francisco Chronicle
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
Military Working Dogs have not been used since the Vietnam war. Rex was a puppy when he met Sergeant Mike Dowling. The bond between this man and dog was inspirational. They worked together, ate together, even slept together. That was if Rex could find room in the small beds provided in Iraq where they were deployed. He'd start out trying to lay beside Mike, then on top of him, gave up and slept in his own sleeping quarters.
Rex proved to be an excellent choice for becoming a Military Working Dog. The bond between man and dog was so tight that either of them would die for the other one.
Rex had one problem when he arrived in Iraq. He had never been introduced to such a high volume of noise when a battle was occurring. Mike employed the use of the rule book in his head and taught Rex how to manage and banish his fears.
Rex's jobs were to find IED's, weapons caches and suicide bombers. Any one of these jobs could easily kill Rex, Mike or the both of them. Rex went first and when Mike voiced the word, "seek," Rex went to work. He totally loved his job. If Rex did his job well, both he and Mike would return to their barracks.
This true story was a great read. I do love dogs and understand how man and dog can become almost more than a family member. The narrator was great for this book. The book was a good read from beginning to end. The book taught me something that I've always wanted to investigate, how to train and prepare a dog to become a Military Working Dog. Rest assured, this book explains that question and so very much more. The money or credit will not be wasted when you purchase this book. Enjoy!
The past 3 weeks everyday before I train or meditate I would listen to 30 minutes of this book to get my mind right. Just finished it for the fourth time and have finally comprehended every second of this novel. If you have a passion for war novels or even the relationships of men and their best friend. It's for you. There are times when my eyes had been closed and felt like I was in the triangle of death.
Worth the listen. Mike Dowling I hope you read this. I can only hope to shake your hand someday. Sexy rexy is working hard out there somewhere.
Dowling is an incredible Marine who's love for his dog mirrors his love for serving his country. I was moved by his burning desire to ensure the safety of those he served with throughout the course of this book.
“I am the wife to a wonderful man, the mom to two sweet doggie boys. I'm all about the dog stories fiction or non!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. Friend or Foe! This book was well written, just emotionally charged enough, gave you the ability to actually imagine what was going on... Made me laugh, made me cry. Was a beautiful story!
Merle's Door, Pukka's Promise, Saving Cinnamon, many, just lovely stories that pulled you in, yet informed you at the same time.
The part of the story I loved was how Rex was inter-woven into all of the Marines' lives and how he brought them comfort, happiness, fun as well as the protection he was supposed to.
What moved me was the dedication that Dowling had to his dog. It was not one main thing, just the sense that he loved and cared for Rex.
Most definitely. I listened to this on the way to an NACSW Level 3 Trial my dog and I were competing in. Talk of drive, change of behavior as well as the more lighthearted "finds" and the way Rex would diffuse tenseness at base just really hit home for me.It must have helped me read my dog better - she completed her NW3 with a second overall.
Haven't listened to any others yet - but am getting Trident K9 Warriors next.
Liked it all around. No complaints.
There were several. Being general (as to not give away things) the different changes of behaviors preceding Rex's alerts. And lighthearted finds as well.
Having trained dogs for work as well as in nose work I easily identified a lot in this story.
The story of man and dog at war is masterfully told. By the time the story was finished I felt as though I had been through training and theatre with them. Touching and entertaining.
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