by Rana Asfour
An Afghanistan sniffer dog, now retired from the frontline is the subject of medic and author Angie McDonnell's new book 'Gun Shy: The True Story of the Army Dog Scared of War'.
Vidar, the army search dog, spent half his life sniffing out enemy weapons and bombs on the frontline of the war in Afghanistan. His keen nose saved the lives of hundreds of soldiers, finding roadside bombs which could have killed British troops.
But after two years of loyal service, Vidar became 'Gun Shy' - a term used to describe dogs who are frightened of loud noises. Whenever he heard bombs exploding or even the sound of helicopters flying above, he would curl up in the corner, shaking with fear. His army days were numbered and his future looked uncertain. Until Angie, an army medic who befriended him during her tour of Afghanistan, made it her duty to give him a safe haven at her Welsh home.
The 96-page book by Accent Press launched as part of the Welsh Book Council's Quick Reads Initiative, aims to encourage adults who struggle to read to pick up a book. It will be on sale online Feb. 17
'Quick Reads' anyone?
'Quick Reads' are a series of short books by bestselling authors and celebrities. With no more than 128 pages, they are designed to encourage adults who do not read often, or find reading difficult, to discover the joy of books.
'Quick Reads' titles for 2017:
'Dead Simple' crime anthology (Orion) - a crime collection bringing together eight writers including Harry Bingham, Mark Billingham, Clare Mackintosh, James Oswald, CL Taylor, Angela Marsons, Jane Casey and Antonia Hodgson.
'Looking for Captain Poldark' by Rowan Coleman (Ebury) - a road trip novel about four people who meet online and drive to Cornwall to the Poldark set to find Aiden Turner. Coleman, who is dyslexic herself, is the bestselling novelist of The Memory Book and We Are All Made of Stars.
'A Very Distant Shore' by Jenny Colgan (Little Brown) - a romantic novel set on a remote Scottish island, where a Syrian refugee goes to work as a doctor. The small community welcome him but can he forget his past? Colgan is the bestselling author of The Little Beach Street Bakery.
'The Other Side of You' by Amanda Craig (Little Brown) - a re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast, set in London. Amanda has written a number of very well-reviewed novels including Hearts and Minds and A Vicious Circle.
'Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway' by Susan Jeffers (Ebury) - a specially adapted book drawing on the late Susan Jeffers' landmark self-help book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway and its bestselling follow ups.
'One False Move' by Dreda Say Mitchell (Hodder) - a gritty novel set on the Devil's Estate in London, the same setting as her recent Flesh and Blood trilogy