Paige’s Book Club: Book Review #3


Book: Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca

Author: Maria Goodavage

1. What made me want to read this book?

I have always been an animal lover and one of my favorite animals to work with is dogs, so it was only natural for me to pick this book off the library bookshelf. I have watched countless documentaries on dogs, their intelligence, the types of work they do and the joy they bring to humans. This book afforded me the opportunity to learn even more, and in greater detail, about the work that military dogs, such as Lucca do.

2. Which passages were the most interesting, disturbing, humorous, or sad?

This entire book was very interesting as it followed the life and many missions of Lucca and her handlers. The saddest moment came with the death of one of the dog handlers close to Lucca and her handler. I did not see his death coming and wished it hadn’t happened, but these are the things that happen in war.

3. What has this book taught me? Has it broadened my perspective on the world or some part of my life?

This book has taught me about the value of dogs in the military. These dogs are trained for months with their handlers in order to perform duties that saves lives.  Whether it be sniffing out bombs, narcotics or humans, they all serve their country well.  Reading about Lucca has also taught me the importance of using any dog, regardless of breed, with extraordinary talent to help save human lives. Lucca is a German Sheperd-Belgian Malinois mix. Knowing that the military utilizes mix breeds on occassion is very heart warming. After all, no dog deserves to be shunned because of it’s pedigree, or lack thereof.

4. Has this book changed my opinion about anything or anyone?

This book has changed my opinion about the resilience of human and animal soldiers. After reading about the harrowing effects that war bestows upon soldiers in the book Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel, I thought that dog handlers would have more trouble dealing with the effects of war. Top Dog reveals the pain that soldiers feel about losing a dog, but it also highlights the joy the dogs, such as Lucca, bring to all the soldiers they encounter, not just their handlers. This book also highlights the fact that dogs can suffer from PTSD, which I had just learned about at UC Davis last year. Learning more about this condition in dogs is always a reward experience.

5. What is the writing style like? Engaging, boring, easy to understand?

The amount and depth of research that Maria Goodavage put into this book is definitely seen in her work. Goodavage provides excellent descriptions of events and scenery, which are constantly changing as Lucca and her handler are deployed on different missions and visit different countries. She also focuses on other handlers and their dogs who have met, worked and played with Lucca throughout her deployment. Overall, this is a great book for anyone who wants to learn about lives of military dogs and the handlers that work with them.

The next book I will be reading is Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt

Feel free to join me in reading and discussing each book!

Have you read this book and want to share? Feel free to post in the comments section below!

Happy reading!



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