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Anyone who knows Annie and Fresh American knows that we consider our pets part of our family. Most staff members have one or more furry, feathered, or fishy friends, and those who don’t still enjoy their daily greetings and play sessions with our canine office mascots (like Maxine, pictured here “modeling” one of our beds). So when we heard about Maria Goodavage’s new book, Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes, we couldn’t wait to take a look.

It turns out that there are currently more than 600 dogs serving in Afghanistan and Iraq (including the brave pooch who served alongside the Navy SEALs in their 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound), and while the U.S. military archaically classifies them as “equipment,” Goodavage’s book shows that these pups are considered anything but by their human handlers, who often forming touchingly powerful bonds with their companions. The book also covers how service dogs are trained and how their acute senses, innate intelligence, loyalty, and athletic skills are put to use. And it’s packed with photos—alternately sweet and awe-inspiring. We dare you not to get misty.

For even more—including excerpts and tear-jerking reunion videos—check out Goodavage’s Solider Dogs site and blog.

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