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Publisher's Summary

Lola was a buckshot-riddled stray, lost on a Memphis highway. Cody was rejected from seven different homes. Ace had been sprayed with mace and left for dead on a train track. They were deemed unadoptable. Untrainable. Unsalvageable. These would become the same dogs America relied on when its worst disasters hit. 

In 1995, Wilma Melville volunteered as a canine search-and-rescue (SAR) handler with her Black Labrador Murphy in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. At the time, there were only 15 FEMA-certified SAR dogs in the United States. Believing in the value of these remarkable animals to help save lives, Wilma knew many more were needed in the event of future major disasters. She made a vow to help 168 dogs receive search-and-rescue training in her lifetime - one for every Oklahoma City victim. 

Wilma singlehandedly established the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) to meet this challenge. The first canine candidates - Ana, Dusty, and Harley - were a trio of golden retrievers with behavioral problems so severe the dogs were considered irredeemable and unadoptable. But with patience, discipline, and love applied during training, they proved to have the ability, agility, and stamina to graduate as SARs. Paired with a trio of firefighters, they were among the first responders searching the ruins of the World Trade Center following 9/11 - setting the standard for the more than 168 of the SDF’s search-and-rescue dogs that followed.   

Beautiful and heart-wrenching, Hero Dogs is the story of one woman’s dream brought to fruition by dedicated volunteers and firefighters - and the bonds they forged with the incredible rescued-turned-rescuer dogs to create one of America’s most vital resources in disaster response.

©2019 Wilma Melville with Paul Lobo (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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Heroes Every One

Excellent book about the formation of the search dog foundation. Enjoyed the book thoroughly, from the anecdotes to the true life sadness.

Moments of laughter, moments of tears, but every moment the joy of the dogs working. Just knowing that these dogs were given new meaningful lives makes it more than worth the read.

6 people found this helpful

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I couldn’t put it down.

I listen to audio books when driving. I can’t tell you how many times i’d go around the block just one more (okay maybe a dozen) times to keep listening. I am going to school to be a dog trainer and i just loves this good

6 people found this helpful

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We need more people like Wilma true world citizen


Her tenacity and vision is breathtaking, as driven as the dogs she trained. God bless her and SDF

5 people found this helpful

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greatest book stories.

Loved it. would have enjoyed it to continue a lot
more
I cried some stories

4 people found this helpful

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Don’t normally leave reviews

Recently finished dog training with our golden doodle. This book paints a great picture of how someone who loves dogs and helping others can maximize a dogs natural instincts. A few LOL moments.

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Inspiring Story

I enjoyed this book about how Wilma turned her dream into a foundation for search and rescue dogs. The stories of Wilma, the handlers and of course the dogs were interesting and inspiring.

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Wonderful true story well written

I thoroughly enjoyed reading/listening to this book. It is so well written, and about such an important subject. Wilma is so strong, and she has such amazing vision. I would highly recommend This book

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Missed its potential

This Could have been an outstanding book. Because of the subject matter. However the overdramatic voice of the narrator and the lack of positive situation leaves the book in just the ordinary world. What a pity.

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Great Book 📖

I really enjoyed this book.The story was true and soo interesting. the reader was perfect