Lucca and Chris Willingham enjoy a light moment while training. Like all military dogs, Lucca loves praise. We do, too, and we'll be updating this page with new press comments as they come in.
Lucca and Chris Willingham enjoy a light moment while training. Like all military dogs, Lucca loves praise. We do, too, and we’ll be updating this page with new press and other comments as they come in.

Praise for Top Dog

“…an eye-opening account of the job these intelligent dogs and their courageous handlers do…(a) riveting title that is filled with excitement and heartbreak.”
Library Journal (starred review)
“Whether someone likes to read “war” books or not, this story is one that transcends “war.” I have read nothing that so adroitly weaves together the relationship between our young warriors and man’s best friend, from Iraq to Afghanistan and then coming home in body, mind and spirit. If I could write half so well and capture the essence of things largely left unspoken, I would write letters to God!”

—Marine General James Mattis (Ret.)

“Goodavage captures the pure essence of the handler-dog bond…Military buffs, dog lovers, and the everyday reader will praise Goodavage for delivering such a stirring account of Marine MWD Lucca K458 and the handlers who share her leash.”
Defense Media Network, (review by Rhonda Carpenter, editor)

“Maria Goodavage’s Top Dog is a true war story with a heart as heroic and bold as any account ever told, only here the tale centers on a four-legged warrior, specifically one named Lucca, a courageous and stalwart war dog of incomparable bravery. This is no dry accounting of Lucca’s service, but a gritty, boots-on-the-ground portrayal of what it means to share the battlefield with such a remarkable animal. Written with authority, warmth, and genuine honor, here is a story that not only needs to be told, but should be read by all. It’s a new classic, one that will inspire everyone.”
—James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Kill Switch 

“…an absolutely fascinating and an accurate portrayal of the importance of military working dogs and their handlers on today’s complex battlefield. The book is extremely well written and skillfully paints the picture of the passionate relationship between military working dog and handler. It has my highest recommendation.”
—Army Lieutenant General Rick Lynch (Ret.)

“I LOVED Top Dog. With a single glance into Lucca’s soulful knowing eyes, you will fall in love. Heartwarming and heart-rending until its joyous conclusion, Maria Goodavage brilliantly renders the growing love and loyalty between Lucca and her handlers — a bond of such incredible strength it transcends war, distance, and time. Meet the amazing Lucca, and you will wish she was yours!”
—Robert Crais, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Suspect 

“A masterfully told epic of one of the canine heroes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I doubt many readers will finish the book with a dry eye—this veteran of 28 months in Iraq, for one, could not. Semper Fi, Lucca.”
—Col. Peter Mansoor (Ret.), chair of military history at the Ohio State University, and author of Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War

“…an incredible, spellbinding read. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Deborah Scranton, director of The War Tapes and other award-winning documentaries

“Written like an adventure, with heart-pounding combat sequences, high tension, and suspense as well as moments of deep emotion and bonding, “Top Dog” is a must read for anyone who appreciates heroes of both the two-legged and four-legged kind.”
—Stanley Coren, author of The Intelligence of Dogs, How to Speak Dog, and others

Praise for Soldier Dogs

“A moving portrait of the loyal, courageous, furry warriors who truly are enlisted Man’s Best Friend.”
People Magazine

“A fascinating window into a different kind of military life.”

Brent Olson and his dog Blek were both injured when an IED exploded. Soldier Dogs features this fine dog team and many others.
Brent Olson and his dog Blek were both injured when an IED exploded. Soldier Dogs features this fine dog team and many others.

“[A] highly recommended book if you have the slightest interest in military working dogs. A must read — I say again must read — book if you have ever served anywhere they’ve had paws on the ground. I’m not sure who to thank more…Maria Goodavage for her book or Blek, Lucy, Buck, Ajax, Davy, Tina, Patrick, Fenji, Rex, Cinte, Lex, Ben, Lars, Duc and the other dogs and their handlers for helping her write it…”
David Reeder, 

“Goodavage profiles an indispensible warrior of the four-legged variety…Inspiring personal stories of the many canine allies (and their handlers) who have dramatically enhanced military command units and examines how this indelible human-canine bond often transcends the atrocities of wartime violence. A well-deserved salute to the military’s ‘paws-on-the-ground heroes.’ ”

“Author Maria Goodavage tells a fascinating tale of the dogs of war.”
—John Orr, Triviana

“Stories of spooked pups aboard battle-hound Hueys and dogs in the line of fire reveal surprisingly human-like response to war, and posit these military mutts as admirable–and capable–soldiers.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Soldier Dogs is a fascinating book about the valiant things that military dogs do, told through the words of the soldiers who fight beside them. It also shows you how military service dogs are created, told through the words of the trainers and scientists who know the process. It is written in an easy and entertaining style and will acquaint with you dozens of canine heroes ranging from Stubby, who fought in WWI, to Cairo, who was a member of the raiding party that took down Osama Bin Laden. It is a great read for anyone who appreciates dogs and heroes.”
—Stanley Coren, author of The Intelligence of Dogs and others

“If the idea of dogs at war conjures up thoughts of harsh methods and unrelenting discipline, think again.  Maria Goodavage’s revealing and engaging book exposes the unexpected trust and affection that flows both ways between dog and handler.  You may already care about dogs: this book will heighten your respect for them.”
John Bradshaw, animal behaviorist, author of Dog Sense

“Goodavage does a great job of chronicling the use of dogs in the military…ideal for dog lovers and for those who want to simply learn more about do