On September 26, Skyhorse will publish Vets and Pets by Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris. The book shares fifteen stories of American wounded warriors, veterans, and other service members and their service and companion animals, along with the nonprofits that make those unions possible.
Whether it’s Apollo the Doberman helping Tyler adjust to civilian life as a double-amputee, Vietnam vet Patrick finding relief from PTSD through birds of prey, Mandi healing with the help of potbelly pigs, or any of the other remarkable relationships in Vets and Pets, we’re happy to team with Dava and Kevin to spotlight some unity and hope in an increasingly divisive world.
We’re excited to give you a sneak peek by featuring some excerpts from the text, which we’ll do regularly until the pub date. You can check out Vets and Pets here.
From Chapter 7, The Navy Vietnam Veteran: “The dog becomes a family member.”
Paul Mimms hit the ground running in Vietnam. Literally.
He was a year and a half into his enlistment and traveling on a commercial flight to Saigon on Valentine’s Day that was packed with service members coming from Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. He remembers an otherwise uneventful crossing of the Pacific, with the flight attendants—then called stewardesses—in miniskirts serving sodas. Once over Vietnam air space, the pilot announced that their landing would be delayed because of congestion on the ground. Translation: the air field was being bombed.
When they finally received permission to land, around midnight, the plane went into almost a flat-out dive. Once on the ground, Paul had his duffel bag and another bag to carry off the plane, and he remembers the stewardess’ additional attire at the door as the troops prepared to disembark.
“She had a helmet and flak jacket on and was saying, ‘Good luck. When you hit the ground, don’t stop running until you get to the terminal.’ She was saying that repeatedly.”
Paul had every intention of following that advice. On departure from the Philippines, the officer of the day had the sailors where their dress white uniforms, which would make them—and especially someone as big as Paul—stand out on a tarmac that was being illuminated by the magnesium flares the enemy was firing over the airfield.
“We got to the bottom of the steps of that rollout jet way and started running,” said the former track standout. “I was passing people.”
There were no casualties that day. Everyone made it safely inside, and Paul spent his first night in Vietnam sitting on the floor of the terminal, leaning against his duffel bag.
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