True North Blog

Summer Reading Suggestion

As I sat on the beach last week during my vacation, I managed to relax and have fun.  One of the many highlights of my days, then, was listening to the waves crash as I read with great interest my newest book.  Of course, being a wilderness survival instructor, I tend to read non-fiction accounts of survival.  After all, reading offers a great way to help learn from others about what it it takes to deal with adversity, often when you may most feel like giving up.

This book was unique, however, in that it’s main focus is on the only official canine POW of World War II.  No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII, written by Robert Weintraub, describes almost incredible accounts of heroism, fortitude, and devotion between dog and human alike.

Born in Shanghai, China in 1936, Judy, an English Pointer, was adopted by the British Royal Navy crew of the HMS Gnat to be its mascot.  Later, as hostilities with Japan began, Judy and her crew survived being sunk, only to be captured and forced on a jungle march to a brutal internment camp.  There, Judy and her many humans continually help and support each other to survive their ordeal.

Here is a brief summary from the publisher:

No Better FriendThe extraordinary tale of survival and friendship between a man and a dog in war

Flight technician Frank Williams and Judy, a purebred pointer, met in the most unlikely of places: a World War II internment camp in the Pacific. Judy was a fiercely loyal dog, with a keen sense for who was friend and who was foe, and the pair’s relationship deepened throughout their captivity. When the prisoners suffered beatings, Judy would repeatedly risk her life to intervene. She survived bombings and other near-death experiences and became a beacon not only for Frank but for all the men, who saw in her survival a flicker of hope for their own.

Judy’s devotion to those she was interned with was matched by their love for her, which helped keep the men and their dog alive despite the ever-present threat of death by disease or the rifles of the guards. At one point, deep in despair and starvation, Frank contemplated killing himself and the dog to prevent either from watching the other die. But both were rescued, and Judy spent the rest of her life with Frank. She became the war’s only official canine POW, and after she died at age fourteen, Frank couldn’t bring himself to ever have another dog. Their story—of an unbreakable bond forged in the worst circumstances—is one of the great undiscovered sagas of World War II.

This is a wonderful book that I definitely hope that you’ll consider reading.

To learn more, check out the website of Robert Weintraub.

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook and YouTube.

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