Soldier Dog by Sam Angus


Stanley’s dad hasn’t been the same since his wife died and his eldest son went off to fight in the war. Now Stanley is either invisible to his dad or the object of one of his rages, and his only friend is his dad’s prizewinning greyhound, Rocket. But one day Rocket escapes, and the result is a litter of non-thoroughbred puppies that Da says will all have to be drowned, even Stanley’s favourite puppy, Solider. Stanley is so angry with his father that he runs away and enlists in the army to train as a messenger dog handler, and despite being far too young he’s soon heading to France with a Great Dane called Bones by his side. As the fighting escalates and Stanley experiences the horrors of war, he comes to realise that the loyalty of his dog is the one thing he can rely on. But his father hasn’t given up on him, and extraordinary circumstances will bring them together once more…

First chapter:

Author website link

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32 thoughts on “Soldier Dog by Sam Angus

  1. This book is set in World War 1. Stanley’s father, heartbroken by the death of his wife and depressed and angry when his beloved horses are taken to pull guns in France, is hard to live with. Stanley’s older brother can’t wait to join up.
    Then Stanley accidentally lets his father’s prize winning greyhound out. It gets pregnant and will never be able to win races again. When his father vows to drown the pups, Stanley can’t bear any more, runs away and joins the army.
    After training as a dog handler, Stanley gets sent to France with his dog and endures terrible experiences in the trenches, which are described in detail.
    Soldier Dog has lots of historical facts which were often a bit boring but had to be there for the story to make sense. The battles were well described and not too gory and sickening but you did feel the horror of being there.
    I did think the plot was rather predictable but it was a good story and I enjoyed it. In real life I suppose everyone would have died so I didn’t think the ending was very realistic but Stanley deserved a happy ending after what he had gone through.

  2. Set in WW1 and mastering mysteries, adventures and drama, Soldier Dog by Sam Angus is a ‘must read’.
    Stanley, on a depression mission, finds himself in the midst of a blazing war. Scared angry and alone, he takes comfort from working with life-saving animals: dogs – the only familiar thing in this world of destruction. Stanley must postpone his desperate quest to find his brother and get his dog ready to fulfil its purpose when the time comes. A message carried successfully by one of these animals could save hundreds of lives. Through acres of land one dog must run to bring his precious message back. That means his bond with his Keeper must be inseparable.
    Definitely a good book but I did think that the detail about the war was incredibly vague. You got the feeling that Stanley was participating for only a few minutes then he was back at home. On the other hand, this book is not predictable. When realisation crashes upon Stanley, it will hit you too. You will endure the same hardships as him and you will sympathize with the characters more than ever before.
    “He’ll always be true, faithful and brave, even to the last beat of his heart.” This line is probably one of the most emotional sentences in the book and shows how loyally the dogs worked to please their Keepers. Join Stanley in Soldier Dog and find out for yourself!

  3. When I read the blurb and the quote of the front, I thought this would be the sort of book I would really enjoy but I was sort of disappointed because it didn’t go in the direction I was hoping it would.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this book and found it hard to put down. I felt like I was really there and had got to know the characters personally. The story was full of excitement and sadness. The ending was just right, in my opinion, because although it was happy there was a bit of sadness too. Altogether, I thought it was a fantastic and well written book.

  5. This is an edge of your seat and gripping tale about the courage of a boy and his dog during the First World War. It really stole my heart and will stay with me for a long time.

  6. Soldier Dog is a really interesting book. As well as being a sad, but in some places heart-warming story, it also gives us an understanding of the horrors of the First World War. Overall I thought this book was really enjoyable and would recommend it to both girls and boys.

  7. This book was a roller-coaster. There were highs and lows and sometimes I did feel like I wanted to get off! I felt tricked when Bones died and was utterly oblivious to the author’s intentions for Soldier.
    It was a sad story and made me cry but it was still fantastic.

  8. I thought I wouldn’t like Soldier Dog because it’s set in a war scene; however it’s probably the most amazingly fascinating story I have ever read. I loved it! I really empathised with Stanley’s feelings: we were angry and sad at the same things. I could picture one of the dogs so vividly I got so attached to him.
    If you are a dog lover, I really recommend this book. It’s a very moving story.

  9. I get a tug in my stomach when I think about Soldier Dog and remember the moment when Bones dies. It’s described really well and I could strongly feel Stanley’s emotions as I read it. However, this isn’t a bad thing: I loved this book! All the characters were so realistic I felt as if I could write a detailed fact file on each one, I knew so much about them.
    I enjoyed every part of this book, probably because I’m now at the right age for it. I read a prepublication copy a year ago and struggled with some parts but now I can appreciate it properly. I was absorbed in every page and I’m so glad it was picked for NEBA. I hope lots of people agree with me on that!

  10. I really enjoyed this book as it was described in detail you get so close to Stanley. If you love historical book and dogs this is definitely the book for you. I’m not that much of a dog lover but now I feel as thought I am a dog lover. I found it hard to not carry on reading as it is just a great book to read. I think both girls and boys could read this as it is not aimed at either. It is excellently written and I wasn’t disappointed at any point at the story. There were lots of cliffhangers which made you want to read more and more until you had finished the whole book.
    Faye, Seaton Burn

  11. I liked this book although it isn’t something I would normally read because I prefer fantasy and action. When Bones died, I thought it kind of just got rid of him and this was kind of surprising when it happened only half way through the book, I was also slightly confused with Stanley moving around so much in the first half of the book but it was quite a nice ending.

  12. Although I found the relationship between the boy and the dog moving, I found this book a little bit boring as it was set in the past and that’s not the genre of books I like to read. However, I have no doubt that it was very well written. The language was very understandable and I would recommend it to anyone my age who liked that particular genre, but the story line just wasn’t for me.

  13. I love this book so much.
    The link between dog and boy is expressed amazingly in the story.
    Also I had no idea that Bones would die and that the huge twist at the end would happen as it did.

  14. I really enjoyed this book and would rate it 4/5. The beginning was what you’d expect from a book of this genre but after I’d read a bit further, I realised that there was more to it than there had seemed at first.
    My favourite part was when Stanley found out that Pistol was Soldier because I could feel his elation and it made that part of the book a bit happier.
    Although it was a well written book, I did find it hard to keep track of all the different places in France because the names were confusing. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this wartime story very much. It was full of twists and turns and I couldn’t guess what was going to happen next!

  15. When I looked at the cover of Soldier Dog, I didn’t think I was going to like it as I thought it was going to be about war and would be boring but when I opened the first page and started reading, my mind had totally changed. It was really good as they treated the dog like a real human soldier. The commitment that the dog had made was tremendous and one of my favourite bits would be when he saved the soldier from enemy fire.

    I did like this book but not as much as Constable and Toop and All Fall Down therefore I give this book 3 stars.

    I wish Sam Angus well and hope she does well on the night of the event no matter what the outcome!

  16. I thought this was a really sad story because two dogs died in it that the main character loved. I liked because the main character discovered a dog in the war when he thought it was dead. I would advise to change the front cover because it looks like a boy book with all the colours (orange, blue and red).

  17. I really liked this book because it was exciting and well written. There were sad moments and I liked the twist at the end when Stanley found out what had happened to Pistol. Overall I thought this was a really good book.

  18. I enjoyed Soldier Dog. I’ve seen it in the shops and I’m glad I’ve read it at last. I loved the plot. It was interesting, surprising and quite sad at times. I feel I really got to know the dogs as well as the people. It was a good book and I would recommend it.

  19. This is a nail- biting story and very good too. I’ve not read a book set in this time before but quite enjoyed it. The bit that really got me caught was when Soldier was running across the battlefield and got hit. I was up on my feet shouting for him.
    I would advise everyone to read this book!

  20. I enjoyed this book because the author managed to describe the relationships between the dogs and owners and also the action very well but I did find it boring at the beginning. I also found the script in the diaries and letters very hard to read although it did make them look authentic.

  21. I thought this was a great book. I especially liked how the diary entries were presented because they looked genuine. I thought the characters were easy to relate to and I warmed to all of them except, possibly, Stanley’s dad. I didn’t think his behaviour towards Stanley was very realistic.

  22. I thought the book was heart warming story. You could relate to all if not most of the characters one way or another. I thought it was a sad book but worth the read.

  23. I think this is a really good book, but it made me cry, because the dog tries to save the human from dying but it dies itself, this is a sad story to me as I love dogs and I can get very emotional when animals die in movies or books, or anything else about dying animals, it gets me really upset. Although it made me cry, this book is still an amazing book, and very interesting. I didn’t want to carry on reading it when I started crying but I couldn’t help myself because it is very interesting and fun to read. I’d love it if this book was actually mine because usually I don’t want to read books again once I’ve already read them, but this book is so good I could read it as many times as I wanted! So if you haven’t read it I definitly recommend reading it!

  24. Whilst I was reading Soldier Dog at home, I was also reading Private Peaceful at school so I liked the fact that it was written from a different perspective.

  25. Some of the words were hard to understand but once you realized what they meant you could really tell what Stanley was going through. It was quite sad and I don’t usually like sad books, but this was good. I especially liked the part where Stanley found out that Pistol was really Soldier because it explained so much.

  26. I thought the plot was clever but I didn’t like the way it was written. There seemed to be a lot of text that didn’t need to be there which was too confusing for me so I didn’t really like this book.

  27. I thought the beginning was really interesting and fast but it all slowed down when Stanley got into the army and I didn’t enjoy it so much.

  28. I thought this book was very interesting all the way through. It was easy to get an image of what was going on. I liked how it was based on WW1. There were a couple of words that I did not know. I think this book is a book I could read over and over.

  29. This was such a moving book and I loved every second. The story was very powerful in some sections, especially when Stanley set off to rescue the puppies from his father. Another thing I particularly liked was the description of Shoeburyness High Street, which was vividly recreated. When Bones died, I almost cried. The whole book is brilliant.

  30. This is a complex and emotional story. Out of the five, it’s probably my favourite. It reduced me to tears at times. I think the cover is fantastic – it’s a story in itself!

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