Canine Inspirations

While doing research for  Holding Their Place, I discovered that dogs were used in many ways during the war functioning as mascots, messengers, for laying communication lines, and search and rescue agents. I was deeply moved when I learned that dogs were also trained to sit with severely injured soldiers so that they would not die alone on the battlefield.

Canine medics depicted in a World War I Belgian propaganda poster.

Many breeds were used, but medium-sized terriers and shepherds were most common given their agility, territorial temperments, and trainability.


My canine characters, Jinx and Max, were inspired by my own dogs, Betty, a Welsh terrier, and Chip, a shepherd mix who has an interesting story of her own. Born a feral puppy, my wife and I were able to nab her when she was about two months old—she had gotten a bag of spicy barbeque-flavored potato chips stuck on her head and couldn’t see us sneaking up on her.

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