In October 2007, while serving a second tour of duty training Iraqi forces along the Syrian border of Iraq, Marine Major Brian Dennis befriended one of the many wild dogs that roam the border forts. A German Shepherd-Border Collie, the mutt’s ears had been cut off to make him a dog of war. Dennis aptly named him Nubs. Over time, Dennis and Nubs formed an incredible bond strengthened by Dennis’s willingness to share his meals, offer a warm place to sleep, and give Nubs the kind of care and attention he had never before received. When the time ultimately came for Dennis’s unit to relocate from the Syrian border fort, Nubs was not willing to be left behind. Miraculously trekking 70 miles alone through below-freezing desert temperatures and treacherous territories fiercely protected by wolves and wild dogs, Nubs ended up at the gate of Dennis’s battalion headquarters. Unfortunately, Nubs had no way of knowing that Marines were not allowed to have pets.
Thus began Nubs’s amazing journey from feral dog of war to faithful companion, as documented in NUBS: THE TRUE STORY OF A MUTT, A MARINE & A MIRACLE (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Ages 3 and up; $17.99), written by Major Brian Dennis, Mary Nethery & Kirby Larson. Informed that pets could not be kept in a war zone, and given only four days to “get rid of the dog, or else,” Dennis launched the Save Nubs Fund to evacuate Nubs to the United States. With an outpouring of help from family and friends, Dennis raised enough money to transport Nubs back to his hometown of San Diego, where the dog now has a permanent home – with Dennis.
Told primarily through real photographs from Major Dennis’s own camera, with snippets of his e-mails to friends and family about his new-found friend interspersed, NUBS will remind readers that friendship has the power to cross deserts, continents, and even species.