Review: Reporting for Duty, Profiling Disabled Veterans and Their Service Dogs  by Tracy Libby

Author Tracy Libby has put together a compelling, informative and touching book about soldiers damaged – physically and emotionally (or both) by war – and the beauty of their relationship with service dogs.   For anyone who has a heart, is involved in animal rescue, people rescue or giving back to those who have given us so much, this work is as inspirational as it is eye-opening.

As the press release notes, “the book profiles 15 disabled veterans from WWII, Vietnam, both Iraq wars and Afghanistan,” and by looking at those five conflicts and how the soldiers move into new phases of their lives with these wonderful companions,  the reader is given a very precise snapshot of each situation, with ancillary information on scientific facts pertaining to the effects of the service dog/veteran relationship, specific diseases, rescue groups that people may be unaware of, attacks on service dogs, retirement of service dogs and more.  Page after page is a reminder of something most busy people put in the back of their minds , that after we see a news story or hear about the issues veterans have, we move on with our lives while they carry on and face their struggles on a daily basis.  The book makes one want to do more, give back, and be more sensitive when seeing a homeless vet on the street, or an abandoned animal as well.   It makes an impact whether reading one chapter or absorbing the material cover to cover, chapter by chapter.

The 240 pages captivate with so many elements that reach out and keep one’s interest – the gorgeous photographs, touching stories, friendly doggy smiles,heartwarming looks on the faces of the disabled veterans with their pals/furry family members. The eight chapters succinctly map out the journey and are easy to digest.  For those who may have picked up some of these ideas from life, new media or entertainment – seeing, for example – fictional results of the”Prison Puppy Programs” from a cable TV show like Oz, we get a more preferred understanding of the workings of these different groups and associations that are essential to the healing process, and the quality of life for the vets and their extra special pets.   The term “pets” is said with respect as the training these special animals go through is as arduous and exact sometimes as what the veterans went through obtaining their skills.  It never crossed this writer’s mind that dogs paired with vets were not permanent, that some go into retirement, and the thought of the bond being somewhat broken is heartbreaking in itself.  But in one case, a retired dog found a good home close to the vet getting ready to bond with a new service animal/friend.

Author Libby succeeds in making the point without lecturing and the importance of Reporting for Duty cannot be understated.  It is a work that you calls the reader back and also succeeds as a reference guide.  The press release also mentions that “a  portion of the proceeds will be donated to Veterans Moving Forward” and notes that “the book… covers the many service-dog training organizations and the dedicated people who are determined to help those who fought for our nation regain their mobility and independence.”

More information from the publisher:

Reporting for Duty includes the following sections:

  • PTSD, TBI and MST
  • Prison Puppy Programs
  • Guide Dogs
  • Therapy Dogs in History
  • Combat and Operational Stress-Control Dogs
  • Canine Co-therapists
  • From Shelter to Service
  • How Dogs Read Us

About the Author
Tracy Libby is an award-winning writer and photographer whose work has won multiple awards from the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the Alliance of Purebred Dog Writers

(APDW). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon and has been writing about pet care for more than two decades. Her articles have appeared in mainstream magazines, including Dog FancyModern DogDog WorldPuppies USADogs USA, and the AKC Gazette, as well as online for Embrace Pet Insurance. She lives in Oregon with her husband, five cats, and five Australian Shepherds. She has been involved in the sport of dogs for nearly three decades, exhibiting her Aussies in agility, conformation and obedience.

Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.