Meeting the Author: Soldier Dogs

In this post:

  1. A short review (spoiler: it’s about dogs – it’s a good one).
  2. How down-to-Earth and cool Goodavage is. I now understand the meaning of “down-to-Earth.”
  3. The story of how I almost missed out but didn’t. Thank you to a good friend Erika for texting me about it, and thank you to the boyfriend Jason for doing the research and finding that dogs were involved and for joining me on my adventure.
Getting my book autographed by the author, Maria Goodavage, and chit chatting about guide dogs!

This was just going to be a small mention; I finally finished this book that I got a few years ago on sale! Obviously, it has to be an entire post since I MET THE AUTHOR! Shout out to the volunteer who let me in the line without having a receipt since I brought my book from home. Thank you kind one!

This was the picture I was going to use in this small mention. Training and obedience: Soldier dogs vs. one of my dogs.


Fun fact that I’ve told everyone that would listen since I read about it at the beginning of this book: the first military dog was a stray pit bull smuggled on board by a soldier, and that pit bull (without former training) saved a lot of human lives.

The title says it all. This book is about dogs in the military. She starts off with some history of when the military started using dogs. Then it delves into the training of the dogs and the training of the dog handlers (the humans). This book also includes some of the handlers’ stories fighting wars with their soldier dogs. Read the book for details!

If you couldn’t already tell, I am a huge fan of dogs. I am not a fan of dogs not making it. Reading a book about dogs fighting wars: what was I thinking? But I like that it was not sugar coated. She is honest about the intense training these dogs have to go through as well as what they go through in deployment. She assures us positive reinforcement is used in training, but it’s also the military; they’re fighting a war alongside their human!

I have a new-found fascination with service animals. Soldier Dogs is an informative and interesting read, It can also be heart wrenching, so be prepared!

Until this event, I had no idea she had other books, and I have promptly added to them on my list despite being a non-fan of dogs losing their lives, but that is a part of life, and I am fascinated by the work they do. And Goodavage’s Soldier Dogs has proven to be well-researched and well-written, and my appreciation for her work has grown since I met her and seen for myself how genuine she is. You don’t get a lot of that in famous people.

Now added to my list.


They say “Don’t meet your heroes.”

Quick tangent: I could be wrong, but I think “hero” in this saying is a Hollywood celebrity. I consider writers to be celebrities. Not that Goodavage couldn’t be my hero but because it doesn’t feel like the right word to use. That doesn’t mean I think of her as less than a hero; it’s just not a fitting word. I admire her work. I look up to her.

Anyway, if we ignore the misfitted word, 2/3 times I have found that that saying is sound advice. But this is the 1/3 time that my hero did not disappoint. She is an amazing lady. As I said in the beginning, she is the meaning of down-to-Earth, surprisingly so. I knew the expression before, but I have pin-pointed the meaning of that word now.

I say surprisingly so because if I had her level of security clearance, I would be so smug about it. I also do not have years of success behind me, so any bit of success would give me an ego like Kanye.

I hope to cross paths with her again in less fan-girl-like circumstances. Maybe we’re authors at the same event. Or she’s doing another book, and I happen to be a dog handler.


I was at work at 6 AM, and got home a little after 9 AM and climbed into bed after taking the pups out for their potty breaks. I work in news, and a book festival was mentioned on the show, so I took note of it. It would be going on until 5, so I thought, maybe I’ll check it out after my post-morning-shift nap. It was also Downtown, so half of me did not want to deal with the immense amount of people and car traffic on a Saturday afternoon.

I was all curled up and ready to nap when I got a text that I considered not looking at, but I had to because it’s in my nature to not leave things hanging in the air. It was bugging me, not knowing who it was, what it was about. This is the aforementioned text from Erika. Thank you!

This made me think about it more. She was right to think that this would interest me. This would also interest my boyfriend, so I told him about it and “suggested” he do some research to see if he’d like to go. Being that we’re perfect for each other, he was on the same boat in that we did not want to fight crowds Downtown.

We were on the same boat until he found a panel about dogs in the secret service. What made my ears perk up was the fact that puppies were going to be at this panel. What made me jump out of bed and run to the closet to change was the name of the woman doing the panel: Maria Goodavage! SHE WROTE SOLDIER DOGS! I JUST FINISHED THAT BOOK! I HAVE TO GO! I would have driven over road blocks and people to get there if my boyfriend had not decided that he loved me enough to drive me safely to the San Antonio Book Festival and stand by my side as I fight crowds to meet the woman who has my dream job.