Every once in awhile I’m given the opportunity to review a new show that is coming on television. I’ve been selective about what I review because of the raunchiness that seems to have evaded television and frankly I don’t want to waste my time or to even present it to my readers. But, I was given the opportunity to view Dogs of War a new show on A&E that will be on at 10 pm ET on Sundays starting on November 16th and I can’t wait to watch the 2nd episode. If it is anything like the 1st episode than A&E has landed on a hit. Dogs of War is about Jim Stanek a combat veteran who comes home and is struggling with PTSD. He looks into getting a service dog, but finds out that they are extremely expensive, but he doesn’t let that stop him. Instead he opens up a non profit called Paws and Stripes that saves dogs from kill shelters and he trains them as service dogs for veterans at little or no cost.
We meet Michael another veteran who fought in Iraq also suffering what so many veterans who come back from fighting endure, emotional, mental and physical suffering. Michael breaks my heart and reminds me of how much the men and women in this country sacrifice to protect our freedom and how much they can lose in the process. It is heart wrenching to hear him talk about how he wasn’t ready to be discharged, and how he wanted to fight the war so his kids didn’t have to, but because of an ambush his was thrown head first through the vehicle he was driving and then had to run through fire and basically they decided he wasn’t deployable. He described it so pointedly when he said in the accident when he flew out of that window a part of him flew out that he hasn’t been able to get back. Michael too is looking for a service dog and he and Jim have an instant connection.
Now, Jim’s job is to find a dog for Michael. You see the process of Michael meeting two dogs. I was taken aback of how emotional it was for Michael. Michael ended up passing on the first dog, and you could see the disappointment on his face. When Tennessee comes in you can sense the connection and the relief that Michael feels. He renames the dog a Cherokee name that means, “my 6,” because that means he will always have his back. Don’t you want to cry! I did. Your quickly reminded of why dog is called a man’s best friend.
The show also takes a look at the dynamics in the family and how his wife Jennifer, also deals with the new addition because she for so long has been doing the job that his dog will eventually take over to a certain extent. In the last 8 years Jennifer has been by Michael’s side constantly. As Michael says it isn’t all fun and games, there is training involved and a lot of trust is required by both him and the dog, but when you see it successfully happening you just want to root him on! Michael still struggles with PTSD, that is the reality, but you see hope in his eyes and actions, which is what Jim is trying to give back to these veterans who gave so much and lost so much. Jim cares about the dogs and the vets in a way that is admirable and honorable.
I encourage you to watch Dogs of War on November 16th. It is fitting that the premiere airs Tonight at 10:00 PM ET on A&E on Veterans Day. Here is the Trailer.