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Saturday, May 28, 2016

For MEMORIAL DAY_THE DOG WHO COULD FLY


Czech airman Robert Bozdech found himself shot down with his wounded pilot in a grim no-man's land, 

between German and French forces at the beginning of World War II. 

It is January 1940 and the German army is shortly to begin its surge across the rest of continental Europe.

 In an abandoned farmhouse where Robert and his French pilot take shelter, 

he finds a starving puppy amid the rubble. 

Not weaned yet, the emaciated dog is able to suckle warmed-up chocolate from Robert's finger.

But a puppy left behind would make noise that would alert their Nazi hunters. 

Robert takes out his knife and lowers it to the puppy's throat. 

He looks into trusting brown eyes.  

He puts the knife away and the puppy inside his bomber jacket.


Along with the pilot, he and the puppy make the terrifying and arduous journey to safety.  

But that is just it: 

there is no safety with the Nazis butchering their way across all of France.

So Robert & the puppy, along with six other Czech airmen, 

eventually escape to Britain to serve in the Royal Air Force, 

along the way facing not only a saga of obstacles and dangers 

but the added challenge of smuggling along a dog Robert names Ant ... 

later changing it to Antis for a reason I leave for you to find out.

 Long before Robert and his mates are welcomed into the RAF, Antis wins Robert's heart. 

His loyalty, courage, and intelligence, even as a puppy, 

create a bond of love, one that survives some of the most challenging circumstances.


 Antis was awarded the Dickin Medal, 
the animal equivalent to the Victoria Cross

Before France capitulates, Robert returns to fly with the French Air Force 

in a last-ditch effort to slow the advance of the Germans, joined by Antis. 

(Later Antis would fly with Robert in the RAF.)

"It seemed almost the most natural thing ... for Ant to leap onto the wing of the aircraft and climb in beside him ... 

The perils of the mission didn't seem to worry him ... His ears pricked up a little as the punching percussions of machine-gun fire filled the gun turret,

his nose twitched at the thick cordite fumes that drifted all around him, 

but other than that he didn't ... stir from his laid-back position prone on the metal floor."


 During the course of the war, Antis saves lives by hearing, and warning his master of, 

the approach of German bombers long before they could be detected by air defense. 

And after one horrific attack

he becomes a rescuer, sniffing out survivors in the rubble of a building.  

Even being buried by a falling wall could not stop the bleeding, crawling Antis 

from digging out his last rescue: 

a young girl who would have died but for Antis.

You will laugh, sigh, cry, and ultimately cheer this warm loving story torn from the bloody history of WWII.


You will be cheered by the ingenuity and never-say-die spirit 
of both man and dog.  

I am currently listening to the audio version of this wonderful book.

To give equal time to kittens:

10 comments:

  1. Hi Roland - wonderful book to promote this Memorial Day weekend ... I think one of the great insurgences of the Battle of Verdun in May 1916 happened today ...

    Dreadful times - yet pockets of inspiring and wonderful tales come out too ... thanks for telling us about Antis ... all the best Hilary

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    1. Sometimes in the midst of the madness that is war a small hero, large of heart, emerges -- such was Antis. Thanks for visiting and chatting. :-)

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  2. What a wonderful story. I love animal heroes like Antis. I'm going to download that book today.

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    1. I believe you will enjoy the adventures of Antis and the human who loved him. :-)

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  3. Happy Memorial Day to you, hope you aren't working, but if you are, take care. This is an excellent story you have introduced us to, about the love of an animal for his owner/partner. Too bad more people don't act like good dogs. . .or compassionate cats (there are a few)

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    1. Yes -- I am working today, Whew! Midnight says he is too special to be compassionate -- that is my department he purrs.

      I miss my dogs! :-)

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  4. Roland, great books. Happy Memorial Day.

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    1. Happy Memorial Day to you, too! Whew! I need some sleep. Blood couriering all night is no fun!!

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