Soldier Dog by Sam Angus

Soldier Dog

Written by Sam Angus

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It’s 1917. In the trenches of France, miles from home, Stanley is a boy fighting a man’s war. He is a dog handler, whose dog must be so loyal that he will cross no-man’s-land alone under heavy fire to return to Stanley’s side, carrying a message that could save countless lives. But this journey is fraught with danger, and only the bravest will survive. As the fighting escalates and Stanley experiences the true horror of war, he comes to realize that the loyalty of his dog is the only thing he can rely on.

Based on the fascinating true story of animals who gave their lives during the Great War, Soldier Dog is a heart-breaking book. Set against the devastating backdrop of WWI, this is a powerful story which will bring history to life for young readers.

Read more about the inspiration behing Soldier Dog, and the research which went into writing the book, here.


Soldier Dog by Sam Angus

'He'll always be true, faithful and brave, even to the last beat of his heart.' The heart-breaking, powerful story of a boy soldier and his messenger dog, set against the backdrop of WWI.

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...

If you like this story you may also like to read Victory Dogs by Megan Rix.

Soldier Dog was longlisted for the Carnegie Prize, the Redbridge Award and the Branford Boase Award...and shortlisted for the Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award, the North East Children’s Book Award, Warwickshire Teen Book Award and the Worcestershire Teen Book Award.


“I finished the book last night, cried AGAIN (!), what a fabulous read. I have been raving about it so much that I already have customers waiting to buy it!” – Tricia Smith, Waterstones Bishop’s Stortford

About the Author

Sam Angus

Sam Angus has five children and eleven horses and splits her time between Exmoor and London (the horses stay very much on Exmoor). She has been an English teacher and a fashion designer, but is now focusing on writing full-time.

Of her first novel, Soldier Dog:

IS SOLDIER DOG A TRUE STORY? Some of the events of the life of Soldier Dog are drawn from the lives of two dogs, Airedale Jack and Satan, one a British messenger dog, the other a French messenger dog. Go to and read all about the historical context and the work of the dogs, as well as about the battle of Villers-Bretonneux. HOW MUCH RESEARCH DID YOU DO?
Years of research, mostly in the library of the Imperial War Museum. There is very little available written material on dog handlers in the first world war, mostly because they tended to be drawn from the country, from the world of hunting or faming, or fishing, so they were not on the whole, educated or likely to write much down. Go to for more about this.

Her 2nd novel is The House on Hummingbird Island.

Photo credit Nick Harvey

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Book Info


288 pages
Interest Age: From 7


Sam Angus
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Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Publication date

5th July 2012




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