In honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to write about a book that I bought about a year or so ago about a dog rescued from Iraq. As you may know, I love animals, and I also have a personal interest in supporting the military and veterans and am involved in some projects at work around that effort.
First of all, how can you NOT love the cover?? Please forgive me because it has been awhile since I’ve read this book, so I don’t remember a lot of details. ”From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava” is about… well, exactly what the title says. Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman is fighting the war in Iraq and one day while he’s on patrol, he hears something that he thinks may be a person coming to attack him, but it’s really a tiny little stray puppy. The military has very strict rules forbidding soldiers from keeping pets, but Kopelman just can’t let him go back out into the streets. Dogs over there are not like dogs here in America – they are wild animals and are not pets. Kopelman smuggles him back to camp, and they name him Lava after the name of their battalion, the Lava Dogs. Lava is a typically puppy – a mixture of cute and a troublemaker and that’s what makes everyone love him even more. Kopelman knows that he is not allowed take him home once his tour of duty is over, but he can’t bear the thought of leaving him there in Iraq because he knows what happens to other dogs there. The story explains how Kopelman has some other helpers in the quest to hide and protect the dog over in Iraq and who supported his efforts in getting Lava to the US.
The book was a very interesting read. I loved reading the parts about Lava and his antics, but the details of military life in the middle of a war zone were also very insightful and I learned a lot from it. The story does have a good ending, so don’t worry about that part!
Kopelman wrote a follow-up called “From Baghdad to America: Life after War for a Marine and His Rescued Dog” that deals with Kopelman’s adjustment from soldier to civilian and Lava’s transition into a real pet. I also purchased this book but haven’t read it yet.
Happy Memorial Day and thank you to all who have served our country and given their lives for our freedom.