Even non-dog lovers will be fascinated by Maria Goodavage’s in-depth examination of the highly trained canines and their equally impressive human handlers in Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States.
Readers are offered an unusual peek into a world of international intelligence and security and the important role these specially bred pooches play. Goodavage enjoyed unprecedented access to the government’s training camp as well as to the dogs’ human colleagues.
In lively, often lighthearted language, Goodavage describes the life cycle of the primarily Belgian Malinois, often mistaken for German shepherds. She explains how and where they’re bred, selected and trained. But most compelling: her descriptions of the agents’ relationship with their dogs. Secret Service handlers spend 24/7 with their dogs and form special bonds.
While the story is well-researched and unusual, the way the book is organized feels disjointed and repetitive. Perhaps quality suffered a bit in the rush to release it in time for the 2016 presidential election?
What’s clear is the winner will be protected by some of the nation’s best dogs.