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She helped above and beyond the call of duty - many times over
on 29 June 2014
Judy was indeed a most extraordinary dog by whatever standards - even by human standards - that one cares to judge. Born in the mid-thirties, she spent most of her life among troops aboard ships. In the West, we think of WW 2 as starting in 1939, but it seems that Japan started aggression against China a little earlier - and Judy was on board from quite early on.
I learned a lot of things from this book. I didn't know that troop ships habitually had animals (not always dogs) on board, partly to keep up morale but also because some animals could perform other useful tasks. Those other tasks mean that dogs are often chosen as the on-board animal, but other animals have sometimes been chosen instead. It seems that the people who selected Judy were particularly fortunate in their choice. As I know from following horse racing, a potential owner can choose from young animals on whatever criteria they like, but it's no guarantee that the chosen animal lives up to expectations. Judy far exceeded expectations, ending up as a champion, with a medal equivalent to the Victoria Cross to prove it.
The author tells Judy's story and how effective she was at warning troops of impending danger, discussing various incidents in which risked her life for them, as well as other incidents in which the troops risked their lives for her, It seems that both dog and troops were willing to take these risks because each was heavily dependent on the other. The troops quickly leaned to take Judy's barking seriously, especially when it was incessant. She even fooled the enemy once after realizing that her own men were in danger from the Japanese. In a desperate effort to distract the enemy, she resorted to incessant barking, perhaps implying that a tiger was nearby. However, Judy was lying just to cause a distraction. I didn't think dogs were clever enough to think that way.
Through it all, Judy came through to have a peaceful retirement with her master in Tanganyika (now Tanzania), after saving many lives by alerting troops to danger or diverting enemy attention. Yes, Judy helped above and beyond the call of duty - many times over.