Friday, August 14

No Better Friend

At one point in the telling the suspense got so awful that John Batchelor reassured the audience before a station break, "Don't worry; she survives."

"She" was Judy: shipwreck survivor, dowser, jungle guide, prisoner of war, savior, enemy of pirates and Japanese troops, decorated World War II veteran, and barker at sharks. 

Judy, or "Gunboat Judy," as the British press dubbed her, was likely the most amazing purebred Pointer who couldn't point who ever lived.

Not only that, she inspired many human POWs to find the will to survive a Japanese internment camp because they saw Judy toughing it out and said, "If a dog can do it, so can I."

As to how a dog became a POW -- an official POW -- instead of being killed or driven away by the Japanese soldiers, thereby hangs one of the many tales of her exploits and those of the man she befriended.

It's all been told, finally, in a book, No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII and last night John Batchelor and the book's author, Robert Weintraub, sat around the campfire and told some stories from the book.

John finished by suggesting, "Read this book to your dog."

Yes, and rent a hall and read it to everyone lucky enough to wander in. Read it to banish the doldrums cast by the day's news. Read it to be reminded of the incredible mettle and nobility that man and dog can muster.

And if you can't wait to read it, to hold you over there's always the podcast of the tale well told by Batchelor and Weintraub. Many thanks to both raconteurs. 



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