From the April 2009 issue of the AKC Gazette

Marine Dogs of War Live On In WWII Handlers’ Memories
War Dogs of the Pacific, a film by Harris Done,Wins Alliance of Purebred Dog Writers Haggerty Award
By Jan Mahood

Approximately 1,000 World War II American veterans died today, taking their stories with them.  Soon there will be none to tell us, in their own words, what happened.  War Dogs of the Pacific, just out on DVD, brings the dog handlers of World War II into our living rooms to tell us and future generations the story of the courage, bravery, and sacrifice of the Marine War Dog Platoons.

Award-winning cinematographer Harris Done, makes his directing debut with War Dogs of the Pacific, for which he won the Alliance of Purebred Dog Writers’ Capt. Arthur J. Haggerty Award.  Done’s eye for the telling scene is evident in the skillful combination of interviews with World War II veterans and harrowing scenes of battle on the rubble-strewn beaches and steamy jungles of Guam.

Several Marine dog handlers who fought beside their canine partners through the steamy jungles of the South Pacific tell us that they are here today because of their dogs.  As they speak of their dogs, tears well and jaws stiffen, or, as poignant or humorous moments are recalled, a smile breaks through.  Done punctuates the reminiscences with harrowing battlefield film footage and dramatic stills from U.S. Marine Corps archives.  The sound track reinforces the action, with music in a minor key for battle scenes. Upbeat 1940s tunes accompany lighter moments.

These Marine dogmen have been called members of the “Greatest Generation.”  But War Dogs of the Pacific leaves the viewer with the impression that this designation misses the point entirely. 
“We had a job, and we did it.”

Jan Mahood is president of Alliance of Purebred Dog Writers. Her article “A Few Good Dogs,” about the canine Marines of World War II, appeared in the June 2006 Gazette.


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